Films by Joseph Cornell, program two | Chicago Reader

Films by Joseph Cornell, program two

In addition to accumulating sundry materials for his boxes and collages, Joseph Cornell also collected old movies of all types, and while some of his films were photographed under his direction, others were edits of this found footage. Of the latter, only Rose Hobart (1939) was shown in Cornell's lifetime; the others were discovered after his death, and no evidence confirms that he thought of them as complete. It's easy to see why he might have been interested in the almost otherworldly steelmaking footage of By Night With Torch and Spear (undated), but the film lacks the deliberate structure of most of his work. Both Joanne, Union Square (1955) and Cloche a Travers les Feuilles (1957) set young women in parks that are treated as privileged, almost sacred spaces. Included are three versions of the same footage: Mulberry Street (1956), What Mozart Saw on Mulberry Street (1956, codirected by Rudy Burkhardt) and Children (1957), which presents many shots upside down. The gentle The Wonder Ring (1955) is an important early film by Stan Brakhage, which Cornell commissioned as a record of New York's Third Avenue el before it was torn down. Curiously lacking in people, the film focuses on the rhythms of the ride and reflections in train windows, finding a real-world version of the superimpositions Brakhage would later create in the lab. Also showing: Angel (1957); Bookstalls (undated); Capuccino (1957), and Vaudeville De-luxe (undated). 81 min.

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