Saturday, September 19, 2015

Film Diary 2015: The films of the Quay Brothers

August 16- part 1
Prepping for an interview with the incredible Quay Brothers I sat down with the BFI collection of their films and wandered my way through the films. I watched all of the shorts yet again- this time paying more attention so that I could speak to the brothers intelligently.

Here are the films I watched with some comments

Nocturna Artificialia (1979)- The Quays “first” film. Its included in collections as an extra away from the other films. I’m not sure why since it’s not a bad film. Interestingly the film is a kind of cheat sheet for the Brother’s following films with riffs, ideas and sequences that showed up in other films.
The Cabinet of Jan ┼ávankmajer (1984)- the music haunts me, but not one of my favorite films. Made not long after their discovery of Svankmajer doesn’t click with me as a whole despite pieces working very well.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, or This Unnameable Little Broom (1985) a.k.a. Little Songs of the Chief Officer of Hunar Louse- Not as good as some of their other films. For me the film reminds me too much of the work of other animators, in particular the animators that they admire.
Street of Crocodiles (1986)- what can I say the entry point for pretty much everyone. I saw ths 30 years ago and was hooked. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen
Stille Nacht I: Dramolet (1988)- First of a series of short nightmares. Just wickedly cool.
Rehearsals For Extinct Anatomies (1988)
The Comb (From The Museums Of Sleep) (1990)
Rain Dance (1990) – a short film for Sesame Street- yes some insane person unleashed the Quays on Sesame Street. I must find this person and kiss them. (This is on You Tube)
De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis (1991)- I love this film. It plays like an animated Peter Greenaway film. Its very much like the films Greenaway is making with his current obsessions on perspective.
The Calligrapher (1991) – an ident commissioned for the BBC2 television channel, but never broadcast- short film is just really cool
Stille Nacht II: Are We Still Married? (1991)
Stille Nacht III: Tales From Vienna Woods (1992)
Stille Nacht IV: Can't Go Wrong Without You (1993)
In Absentia (2000)- Very cool film about a woman locked away. It’s the quays literally manipulating and animating light
Stille Nacht V: Dog Door (2001)
The Phantom Museum: Random Forays Into the Vaults of Sir Henry Wellcome's Medical Collection (2003)- glorious precursor to the Mutter Museum film.

Zeitgeist Films is releasing a Blu-Ray of the shorts on October 20th. Look for more coverage and my interview with the Quays at that time.

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