Short Films by the Quay Brothers

Short Films by the Quay Brothers

11 Episodes

Two of the world’s most brilliantly original filmmakers, identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay have, over the course of more than four decades, amassed an enormous cult following for their visionary blend of puppetry and stop-motion animation. Perhaps best known for their gothic classic STREET OF CROCODILES, The Quays display a passion for detail, a breathtaking command of color and texture, and an uncanny use of focus and camera movement that unite their darkly surreal, marvelously macabre works. Masters of miniaturization, they’ve created an unforgettable world on their tiny sets, suggestive of a landscape of long-repressed childhood dreams.

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Short Films by the Quay Brothers
  • The Cabinet of Jan Švankmajer

    Episode 1

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1984 • United Kingdom

    The Quay Brothers pay homage to another stop-motion master in this surrealist curiosity shop that imagines legendary Czech animator Jan Švankmajer as a mad genius (literally) opening a child’s mind to fantastical experiments in pe...

  • This Unnameable Little Broom

    Episode 2

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1985 • United Kingdom

    A tricycle-riding harlequin lays a trap in this disquieting, psychosexual take on a story from the epic Babylonian poem.

  • Street of Crocodiles

    Episode 3

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1986 • United Kingdom

    The Quays’ masterpiece, STREET OF CROCODILES is adapted from a short story by Polish writer Bruno Schulz, and was their first film shot on 35 mm. A museum keeper spits into the eyepiece of an ancient peep show and sets the musty m...

  • Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies

    Episode 4

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1987 • United Kingdom

    The Quay Brothers play with perception in this black-and-white nightmare machine of oscillating strings and unsettling puppets loosely inspired by an etching by Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

  • Stille Nacht I: Dramolet

    Episode 5

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1988 • United Kingdom

    The first entry in the Quay Brothers’ STILLE NACHT series is an eerie nighttime reverie composed in magnets, iron filings, and spoons.

  • The Comb
    18:12
    Episode 6

    The Comb

    Episode 6

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1990 • United Kingdom

    Based on a fragment of text by the Swiss writer Robert Walser, this mesmerizing blend of live action and animation is an exploration of the subconscious visualized as a labyrinthine playhouse haunted by a doll-like explorer and ba...

  • Anamorphosis

    Episode 7

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1991 • United Kingdom

    The Quays’ interest in esoteric illusions finds its perfect realization in this fascinating animated lecture on the antique art of anamorphosis, a technique that uses visual distortion to hide mischievous symbols within paintings.

  • Stille Nacht III: Tales from Vienna Woods

    Episode 8

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1992 • United Kingdom

    The third film of the STILLE NACHT series is an excursion into the dark, dreamlike forests of the Quays’ imagination.

  • Stille Nacht IV: Can’t Go Wrong Without You

    Episode 9

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 1993 • United Kingdom

    A white rabbit and a child’s doll are choreographed to the ethereal tunes of experimental rock band His Name Is Alive.

  • In Absentia
    20:16
    Episode 10

    In Absentia

    Episode 10

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 2000 • United Kingdom

    Made in collaboration with the celebrated avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, IN ABSENTIA combines live action and animation with dazzling use of light to convey the mindscape of a woman alone in a room repeatedly writing ...

  • The Phantom Museum

    Episode 11

    Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay • 2003 • United Kingdom

    A look inside one of the world’s most extraordinary museum collections: Sir Henry Wellcome’s unique trove of medical curiosities. With their customary dexterity and affinity for the arcane, the Quay Brothers imaginatively document...