Saturday, September 19, 2015
Film Diary 2015: The films of the Quay Brothers
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 Švankmajer (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.