The other day, I ran out of time to screen Rose Hobart (1936) in my Experimental Film class. As an early example of a compilation film, Joseph Cornell made this film using footage appropriated from a Hollywood B-Movie, East of Borneo (1931), to create a new work that featured only the actress Rose Hobart. He also tinted the image blue, but then screened in the 1960s with a rose tint. A version available on Treasures from American Film Archives is set to a couple of Brazilian musical recordings.1
Usually, when I run out of time to screen things, I direct students to watch it online. But, instead, I am going to screen Rose Hobart in class today. Screening it will serve as an introduction to other compilation filmmakers, which we will screen later in the semester, such as Bruce Conner, but also for an upcoming screening at Light Industry.
Light Industry in Brooklyn will be screening two compilation films from the 1990s on Tuesday, September 30. The first one, The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998), by William E. Jones, recomposes Eastern European gay pornographic videos to locate how, according to the program notes, the fall of the Soviet bloc came not from the “seduction” for a Western life but to escape the “coercion” of the State. The second is Tribulation 99 (1991), a film by Craig Baldwin, appropriates a variety of footage to make 99 paranoid diatribes about America being invaded by aliens. When I first saw this film back in the late 1990s, all I could think was how much this seemed like The X Files, a popular TV series of the time, with an absolutely certifiable narrator.
- Tuesday, September 30
- 7:00 PM
- Light Industry, 155 Freeman St, Brooklyn
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- Catherine Corman, “Surrealist Astronomy in the South Pacific: Joseph Cornell and the Collaged Eclipse,” http://www.eastofborneo.org/articles/surrealist-astronomy-in-the-south-pacific-joseph-cornell-and-the-collaged-eclipse. ↩