The Smell of Burning Ants explores the socialisation of boys, showing how the quotidian rituals of violence that characterise growing up male lead to repressed fear and anger, which can only be expressed in further violence. Using images drawn from a dizzying array of black-and-white films from the past, this visual essay follows the story of a single boy to communicate its mythic message. Rosenblatt slows the footage down as if to study it more carefully; he repeats key moments, and he re-frames images, giving the film a compositional elegance that underscores the gravity of the subject matter. The footage is accompanied by a voiceover that further grounds the visuals, uniting them to express what is ultimately a familiar but nevertheless heart-wrenching story of the making – or breaking – of boys.
Read more at http://sensesofcinema.com/2013/cteq/the-smell-of-burning-ants/