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Horror Directors/Actors > The Brothers Quay

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message 1: by Phillip (last edited Jan 13, 2009 01:36AM) (new)

Phillip I wonder if anyone out there is hip to the films of the Brothers Quay. I've worked with their short films, like Street of Crocodiles (based on the outstanding story by Bruno Schultz), Stille Nacht II, and others.

Their astonishing feature Institute Benjamenta is somehow whimsical and nightmarish all at once. It's hard to say exactly what Institute is all about, other than it seems to be their version of a classic ghost story set in an haunted institute (school) with spirits "real" and imaginary. The visual style is a little like Edward Goery on hallucinogenics. The creatures that inhabit their hyper-subterranean worlds are made from parts of machines, old spools, tin cans, steel shavings, etc. It's possible there are even a few human beings in the film. On the other hand...maybe not.

The Brothers Quay are identical twins from the states but have been living in England since the 1980's, when they began to make films. There really isn't anything out there like their work - saying it's like David Lynch meets Babes in Toyland doesn't quite sum up the narratives, which have their own particular brand of dream logic: wholly familar and shockingly unexpected. The only filmmaker that lives in the same general ballpark would be the mad Czech genius, Jan Swankmeyer.

You can find Institute Benjamente or a few different collections of their short films (which vary in style and quality) in most video stores (around here...I imagine Netflix has a healthy stock). I want to warn you that this isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're into "the weirder stuff", this might just rock your world.


message 2: by Phillip (last edited Jan 13, 2009 01:38AM) (new)

Phillip i was thinking of you when i posted this kd. i think you're going to like their stuff.

here's a blurb by geoff andrews (from Time Out) - he summed up Institute Benjamenta better than I could...

"Sometime in the twentieth century, somewhere in Europe: Jakob von Gunten enrolls at the Institute Benjamenta, a run-down edifice headed by an eccentric tyrant and dedicated to the training of suitably unambitious, humble servants....Jakob begins to wonder whether he might be sufficiently princely to rescue his melancholy tutor, Benjamenta's sister Lisa, from the suffocating half-life she leads inside the school's sinister, shadowy walls. Inspired by the writings of Swiss novelist Robert Walser, the first feature from the Brothers Quay is outlandishly beautiful, bizarre, mysterious and inventive, with intense performances elicited from a strong international cast. The film can be seen as a fiercely subversive variation on traditional fairytale motifs, as an allegory on our progress through-as an alternative titled would have it- This Dream People Call Human Life, or as a loving tribute to cinema's fantastic capacity for poetry."


message 3: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers (witchabilly) Love The Brothers! And Svankmajer!


message 4: by Phillip (last edited Jan 14, 2009 10:15PM) (new)

Phillip of course you would know of them, g!
you go girl!


message 5: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 46 comments I own their short film collection plus a few months ago I saw The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes which was very interesting. I love their style. I also love the Tool videos which use a similar stop-motion animation. I havent seen Institute Benjamenta yet though.


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