Combustible Celluloid Review - How Do You Measure a Year? (2022), n/a, Jay Rosenblatt, Ella Rosenblatt, Jay Rosenblatt
Combustible Celluloid
With: Ella Rosenblatt, Jay Rosenblatt
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Jay Rosenblatt
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 29
Date: 06/02/2023

How Do You Measure a Year? (2022)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Annual Rapport

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Just in time for his first Oscar nomination for When We Were Bullies, the great veteran Bay Area filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt was putting the finishing touches on this 17-year-long project, and has now earned his second nomination. How Do You Measure a Year? is wonderfully simple, yet ambitious, and sweetly touching. When his daughter Ella was two years old, Rosenblatt decided to put her on camera and ask her a series of questions, like "What is power?" and "How do you feel about our relationship?" and "What would you like to say to your 25 year old self?" He asked her the same questions on her birthday every year, until she was 18. He claims never to have looked at the footage until the project was finished. Running just 29 minutes, the film captures Ella's changes in ways that we might expect, but certainly in ways that we do not. Some answers are childlike and others are profound. When she's very small she expresses interest in being a singer. While that may sound like a pipe dream, years later, lo and behold, she sings for us, and she has a beautiful voice. Moreover, she chooses Jonathan Larson's "Seasons of Love," which, serendipitously, provides the perfect title for the film.

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