Friday, May 25

Bookstalls - Joseph Cornell (1930s)


"Bookstalls shows a young boy at the Paris bookstalls, dreaming of travel: dramatic sea voyages, tourists milling about, buying post cards. But we also see the day-to-day life of the Isle of Marken in this found footage; people forking hay and hanging the wash. There's a sharp cut, then, to an Asian country, and for a few moments before the return to Paris, there's the reality, again, of the dream of travel: a rice paddy being harvested, fields being cleared, no labor-saving devices. The bookstalls re-appear, and the boy is done with the fantasy. Within a few a dissolves, the boy seems to have grown into a young man. Cornell's travels through secondhand bookstores were vital to his art, but the film doesn't feel like Cornell's dream life; it feels more like a tentative exercise. Bookstalls is interesting in that its footage looks old and is thus clothed with a feeling of nostalgia. It is also interesting as an exercise in putting pieces of film together. A boy leafs through volumes at a Paris bookstall and he imagines faraway places. The whole film has a homely quality which is endearing. ..."
UbuWeb (Video)

2007 November: Joseph Cornell, 2011 April: Rose Hobart (1936), 2012 December: Joseph Cornell's Manual of Marvels, 2015 May: Joseph Cornell: Navigating The Imagination, 2016 January: Joseph Cornell: Worlds in a Box (1991).      2009 April:Stan Brakhage, 2011 December: Burial Path/The Process/The Machine of Eden, 2012 August: The Dante Quartet (1987) - Stan Brakhage, 2016 July: Gnir Rednow (1960) - Joseph Cornell / Stan Brakhage

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