Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rose Hobart 2

Joseph Cornell, Box for Rose Hobart, 1936.

16 mm film, 20 min

Rose Hobart

Gay Surrealists see Rose Hobart—
As cinematic synthetic criticism,
Attempting to analyze the film.

Trying instead to redo impressions—
Made on them by experiencing an erotic
Borneo queer poetic equivalence.

André Breton’s Surrealist approach—
Modeled on the ideal of the hetero flâneur,
Wandering from cinema to cinema.

Following a goodlooking Parisian guy—
Watching a few scenes of one film before
Moving on to the next cineplex flick.

Releasing the imagery from the—
Straight shackles of narrative film
Doesn’t take a great deal of talent.

Gay cineasts make themselves into—
Camp receptacles for Marlene Dietrich &
Maria Montez, queenly interlocutors.

Surrealist urgency begins with—
Serious flâneur cruising at the movies
Being irrelevant but still rather focused.

“Automatic” means to ditch the usual—
Conventional film-making practices revealing
The boring embodied everyday ennui.

By creating gay collage poetic cinema—
Outta any lowbrow popular jungle flick
Cornell performs evocative dream-stuff.

Latent content can be found anywhere—
Trashy cult of kitsch Hollywood potboilers:
Translated into contemporary camp.

“Tarzan and the Leopard Woman”—
Just another kitschy cult psyche ready to
Be plumbed by queer consciousness.

Taken even further, Acquanetta morphs—
Into sultry Temptress of “Cobra Island”
Full of nude homo jungle jive comedy.

Jungle jive images in quick succession—
Can evoke the process of queer desire
For forbidden dreams & hidden agendas.

Moving associatively with collage art—
Flashing to hot moments of male tension
Whose import isn’t clear but unmistakable.

Circling again & again back through—
Some gay related but obscure male scenes,
As if trying to decipher them by dishing them.

Jumping to gay images outta hetero—
Collaging them entirely faggoty-wise
The uncanny segue to what one knows.

Joseph Cornell & Jack Smith—
Both inhabiting the marginal area where
The conscious & gay unconscious meet.

But where, ultimately, is that?—
Each crosscut fragmented scene curiously
Astonishes us with new gay meanings.

Does Rose Hobart reject filmic meaning—
The slipperiness of nothing expressed not
The same old storyline we’re used to?

“Tristes Tropiques / Rose Hobart”—
Suggest associative, impressionistic forms
Titles that trigger emotional responses.

Semantic connotations smack of—
Accidental allures for Cornell with eclipses,
Exotic lands curving with tropical kitsch.

One could say the same thing about—
Mysterious Cobra Island with Maria Montez as
Slinky hoochy-koochy Cobra Queen worshipper.

Miss Cornell descends onto the remote—
Volcanic island of Niuafo'ou to view eclipse,
An isolated palm-covered Pacific speck of dirt.

The King of Tonga joins with entourage—
All his dancing girlz & court astrologers
All them worship the King Cobra Eclipse.

Orgies, eclipses & astronomy have always—
Attracted lovely virgin handmaidens to be
Sacrificed on little coral islands of shame…

The shadow of the moon over Borneo—
Its path passing over coral islands of lust
And then plunging into the sea forever.

In the final scene of Rose Hobart—
An eclipse occurs & the sun falls outta
The sky into the placid ocean waves.

Cornell edits the eclipse footage—
A flaming queen (standing in for the sun)
Falling into water, leaving pulsing ripples.

The entire montage is not linear—
The neo-narrative is inside your head,
The way the unconscious orders dreams.

After the eclipse comes tumescence—
The sun loses its magnificent poetic size
And shrinks into just another movie prop.

There’s a shift from figurative to literal—
The eclipse of Rose Hobart’s lover into
Just another unconvincing limp noodle?

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