Rose Hobart (1936) **
Directed by: Joseph Cornell.
Featuring: Rose Hobart.
After a first confused viewing of Rose Hobart, I went and read a little bit about the film, and came back to it again. After all, it is only 18 minutes. Once again, the film had the same effect on me – by depriving us of any context for the images on the screen, we are forced to evaluate them as they stand on their own. Cornell is highlighting the images themselves, not their context.
I suppose to some, this could be considered art. Salvador Dali apparently attended a screening in 1936, and was angered because he said had the exact same idea for a movie – although he never wrote it down or told anyone about it – and that Cornell had somehow “plagiarized his dreams”. To a certain extent, Rose Hobart can be seen as a similar film to Un Chien Andalou, the infamous short Dali made with Luis Bunuel. Both films have no plot, and that’s the point. That the images are meant to be taken on their own, and the filmmakers want to play with our idea of what a movie is, and what the images mean.
For me though, I didn’t find Rose Hobart, the film, to be all that interesting – even the second time through. I have to admit that I still do not entirely “get” the film, so if you’re a fan of the film, or Cornell, then feel free to dismiss my opinion. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and while many think that Cornell is a great artist, based on my experience with Rose Hobart I think I have to admit that he’s just not for me.