Ultimately, then, it’s a surrealist’s assertion that the process of watching and finding meaning in movies is akin to the process of dreaming and interpreting those dreams. It’s a one-of-kind masterpiece.
Stuck with me and I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I first watched Rose Hobart in college for my film class—being of that age, it connected to me, but I was not able to articulate of what it meant.
Yet somehow, I religiously watch it every half a year or so, and as you put—I would even say, it’s an intimate relationship that’s being built between the audience member and the work itself.
Rose Hobart is the love of montage (thanks, Eisenstein and Vertov), the love of a movie star, more of a muse (Cornell was harmless, it was more of an adoration, not the kind Satoshi Kon depicted in Perfect Blue, heh), and the love of his own vision.
Something many artists and filmmakers struggle with—how do you hear and understand your inner-self to the point of articulating it? David Lynch may be one of the most prominent speakers on this.
Watching Rose Hobart for the first time, just blindly without any background would be a bit tough. I wouldn’t even blame anyone for clicking away after the first couple of seconds in stupor and confusion of what they just saw.
Exactly—it’s one of those works that don’t over-chew the food before feeding you, leaving you enough space and room to breathe and make up your mind, whatever it may be. So many films nowadays leave you with nothing left to say—not because they were “breathtaking” or “speechless” in any good way, but simply, “it exhausted itself.”
Of course, it’s not about the length either. You can have a very very long work, think of War and Peace by Tolstoy and Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky—they say A LOT, but there is much more left to be said and articulated by the reader himself. Rose Hobart is similar. It says so little, because it doesn’t have you. You come to it yourself.
There is a sense of pleasure and satisfaction to be derived from learning how to enjoy these “original” kinds of works. Not in any elitist or "who knows, knows" way—but very much of really, training your perception. Joseph Cornell was himself a part of a big underground film scene, so the elitist tendencies that some might find in people enjoying these “obscure” works are truly unfounded. Maybe only founded in the lack of context and true interest.
The coolest thing is that you can go and watch Rose Hobart straight on YouTube,