THE ENIGMATIC CINEMA OF JOSEPH CORNELL II
Impossible Convicts and The Eclipse

by "Billy" G.W. BITZER & Joseph CORNELL
1905-1943 / 16mm / color-b&w / sound / 1S / 22' 45




Selected experiments:
“Impossible Convicts” 1905, 18fps, 2:35 mins
“The Eclipse/Rose Hobart” c. 1936-43, 16fps, 19:46 mins.
Three color tinted versions available for projection, specify color:
1. Blue
2. Rose
3. Black & White to project with blue filter of your choice.
"Amateur Joseph Cornell made films outside the limelight of commercial cinema production and distribution. In fact he supposedly never handled a movie camera to shoot his own material opting to make use of “found footage” culled from early pioneer trick films, silent feature films, newsreels, travelogues, nature studies, and industrials, among numerous others. His homespun cinema collaged avant-garde strategies and techniques favored by Surrealist filmmakers of the 1930s, Dali and Buñuel, Man Ray, René Clair and Jean Cocteau, whose films he saw at the Julian Levy Gallery. —Bruce Posner
Impossible Convicts 1905, 18fps, 2:35 mins
by G.W. “Billy” Bitzer for American Mutoscope & Biograph
"The prisoners and prison guards shuffle backwards in real time are photographed in reverse motion to appear moving forward in projection time. But it keeps switching and humorous results ensue. Thus forming a visual conundrum - forward or backwards? The early trick film genre fascinated Cornell to no end, and the oddly comedic movements align with his much shared interest with the surreal. —Bruce Posner
“The Eclipse" - "Rose Hobart” c. 1936-43, Blue, Rose & Noir versions 16fps, 19:46 mins.
by Joseph Cornell, primarily copied from George Melford’s "East of Borneo" (1931)
Music: Vintage 78rpm recording of Nester Amaril’s “Holiday in Brazil”
“I prefer the deeper blue one” wrote Joseph Cornell on a label attached to the inside lid of a film can that held a 16mm black and white film know today as “Rose Hobart.” In the can was a 400-foot projection reel made up of three circular hubs, and sitting in each hub was a different piece of deep blue glass, each in varying shades of color. Another label on the lid stated in Cornell’s hand-writing the title, “The Eclipse,” an obvious reference to the solar event pictured at the beginning and end of the movie.
The Eclipse was among other art boxes, collages and films given as gifts to Outlines Gallery director Betty Raphael following his one-man exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1943, with which he supplied 78rpm LP records to play along the films, but none seem to have survived.
Rose Hobart was shown officially with music in 1939 at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, during the “Exhibition of Objects (Biboquet) by Joseph Cornell” held December 6-31, 1939.” —Bruce Posner
Courtesy: Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941

3 PRINTS IN DISTRIBUTION


distribution format Digital file on server (HD)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 23,976 fps
sound sound
rental fee 175,00 €

distribution format Digital file on server (HD)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 23,976 fps
sound sound
rental fee 175,00 €

distribution format Digital file on server (HD)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 23,976 fps
sound sound
rental fee 175,00 €