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Brothers Quay (1947 - )


Stephen and Timothy Quay, better known as the Brothers Quay are influential stop-motion animators. Twin brothers born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they reside and work in England. The Quays' works (1980-present) show influence from Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, for whom they named one of their films The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer. Most of their films feature dolls, often partially disassembled, in a dark, moody atmosphere. Perhaps best known is Street of Crocodiles. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brothers_Quay

Stille Nacht V (2001) - Brothers Quay

A puppet play filled with unabashed eroticism and rebellious repetitiousness. Fifth in a series of cinematographic enigmas.

Originally a music video for a song by Sparklehorse, and at the same time a perverted variation on fairytales like those of Fontaine, a childlike and innocent homage to the painting 'Origine du monde' by Gustave Courbet and a funny satire on the fashionable music video. A puppet show filled with unashamed eroticism and rebellious repetition. In the series of cinematographic enigmas of the Silent Night films, this is the first in colour. --http://www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com/en/film/10537.html [Jan 2005]


  • The Brothers Quay Collection: Ten Astonishing Short Films 1984-1993 (1987) - Stephen Quay, Timothy Quay [Amazon US]
    The surreal visions of the Brothers Quay, identical-twin animators from Minnesota who have since made London their home, are an offbeat mix of clockwork mechanics, wire, thread, and 19th-century curios, all set to life in a series of beautiful but elusive set pieces. Directed in a highly stylized manner, with a shallow plane of focus that intentionally keeps certain objects blurred and a camera that moves with conspicuous mechanical precision, their works have a dreamlike quality about them. This is directly alluded to in the subtitle of one of their most handsome films, "The Comb (From the Museum of Sleep)," where scenes of a latticework of ladders shooting through an angular construction are intercut with shots of a sleeping woman. "Street of Crocodiles," their most famous short work, references turn-of-the-century cinema as a man peers through a Kinetoscope to watch the nightmare-tinged fantasy of a figure overwhelmed by mysterious forces on the deserted streets of a city after dark. These are the longest and most accomplished short films in The Brothers Quay Collection, a compendium of ten works from 1984 to 1993, but the tape contains other spellbinding works, from the early "The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer," a tribute to the great Czech animator and the Quay's spiritual godfather, to the inventive art history documentary "De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis," to the four short works in the "Stille Nacht" series. These films, along with "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and "Rehearsals For Extinct Anatomies," showcase a vision of quivering objects and surreal narratives in a shadowy, self-contained dream world. --Sean Axmaker, amazon.com

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