Joseph Cornell 1903-1972
Nymphlight (made with Rudolph Burckhardt) (1957)
A young girl in a frilly, old-fashioned gown walks hurriedly through New York's Bryant Park. She is out of place, like a figure from another era. She has a broken parasol. We see shots of the people in the park and at the end we see a man emptying out the trash barrels who misses the parasol.
I liked this particularly for showing a slice of New York life from the 1950s. It is interesting to see the people in the park, especially in color. I wish more had been done with the girl in the old-fashioned dress. She doesn't really do anything and nothing really happens to her. She could have just appeared for a moment in the background, but she is given prominence at the beginning of the film so we are led to pay attention to her and then nothing happens.
-- Film Notes, John C.
The films of the reclusive artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) are as unique as his famous box constructions. Though rarely exhibited during his lifetime, these mysterious works nonetheless have had a deep and lasting influence on the world of avant-garde filmmaking . His entire body of film numbers some thirty-odd works, encompassing the incomplete and the fragmentary. It can be said that Cornell made two kinds of films in two distinct periods of activity: collage films, made by recombining found materials, and directed films,where he worked with cinematographers (including Stan Brakhage, Rudy Burckhardt and Larry Jordan) to document his fantasy/experience of wandering in New York. -Bradley Eros and Jeanne Liotta