Brothers Quay.

I have spent this evening watching four short films by the animators and directors, the Quay brothers. As is was also a Q & A session, I had the pleasure of hearing them being interviewed about their current work with the city of Leeds. The identical twins, Stephen and Timothy, sat awkwardly upon the Hyde Park Picture House stage trying not to reveal anything about their current project, Overworlds & Underworlds. This is an artistic event that has been created by the brothers in collaboration with Leeds Canvas. The brothers were not willing to release much information about the event which will be taking place over three days in May. They focused their discussions upon their past work, their influences, their preferred mediums and their love for 35mm. It was wonderful to witness four of their films being projected onto 35mm in my favourite cinema. I was also lucky enough to meet them briefly before the screening commenced. They were very smiley as I nodded enthusiastically, excited about watching their work.

Honestly, I knew very little of their work before sitting down to the screenings tonight. Now, even after watched an hours worth of footage, I feel I have only just scratched the surface of the world of the brothers Quay. I was astounded by the sheer beauty and horror of their work and how these two elements spiralled through their art and became so creepily entwined. The attention to detail is baffling and you can see instantly why they take eighteen months to produce a twenty minute length film.

In Absentia (2000)

The brothers described their creations as being part of a ‘world of metaphors’, created largely due to their love of central European animation; the brothers spoke of their love of Polish animation in particular. You find yourself lost in this world, trying to pick up on every symbolism you possibly can. As hard as you try to fathom it or try to form a sort of understanding of the work, you can’t help but feel academically humbled by the sheer brilliance and meaning of the brother’s work.

One of the four pieces we watched was Street of Crocodiles (1987). It is possibly the brothers most famous work and uses their most iconic and impressive set pieces and camera styles. It also displays the use of puppets and dolls in a way that is typical of the brothers. You will find this film, in two parts, included in this blog, so give it a watch. I was also disturbed and thrilled by their film In Absentia (2000) which I can not fully review as the fear it created is not describable and simply needs to be witnesses first hand. I would also like to write for hours about the use of music in this film, but I do not have the vocabulary or academic ability to do so. Therefore, you must simply watch it for yourselves. Unfortunately I can not find In Absentia with the original music. I beg you to find it and buy it and watch it for yourselves. It will blow you away.

Thanks for reading/watching and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.

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