Rose Hobart

USA 1936. Dir Joseph Cornell.

American artist Joseph Cornell created delicate, whimsical and sometimes disturbing box collages in which he juxtaposed every-day objects – toys, glasses, marbles, bits of wood – in dreamlike arrangements that evoke scenarios of desire and memory. In this collage film he performs a similar alchemy on a Hollywood melodrama, paying tribute to an almost forgotten diva of 1930s cinema, Rose Hobart. Cornell recut the 1929 film East of Borneo, eliminated all dialogue, overdubbed shots with irrelevant music, destroyed any narrative logic, projected it through a blue filter and added some footage from scientific films, thereby transforming Hollywood schlock into a surrealist reverie. Cornell treats images of Hollywood glamor as if they were styles from the past that he re-cuts for a more contemporary look.