Sunday, January 13, 2008

Because I'm currently studying the history of avant-garde film, I'll likely be posting some representative examples for your enjoyment and edification. The first is this short film by Joseph Cornell called Rose Hobart.

This film consists of snippets from a Hollywood film called East of Borneo combined with shots from a documentary of an eclipse. Cornell replaced the original motion picture soundtrack with two songs from Nestor Amaral's album called Holiday in Brazil, which he had found at a junk shop.

When he screened the film for the first (and only) time in 1936, at Julian Levy's NYC gallery, he projected it through a piece of blue glass and slowed the speed of projection to that of a silent film. Salvador Dalí was in the audience and as legend has it flipped out and smashed the projector halfway through the screening, shouting, "He has stolen this idea from my subconscious!" Cornell was so embarrassed and hurt that he never again screened his films for the public.

Unfortunately, I just realized that the proprietor of the film has disallowed embedding. Therefore, I will give you a chopped version (below) to whet your whistle, and the links for part one & part two, should you wish to watch the whole thing from start to finish.