Thursday, 24 March 2011

The Animation Timeline - The Quay Brothers (1947 - Present)

Figure 1, (2008), The Street of Crocodiles 1

The Quay brothers used the uncanny to tell a dark and twisted story, taking inspiration from Svankmajer and Bruno Schulz but used puppets and animated objects. The Street of  Crocodiles is set in a trashy neighbourhood and entering a shop where the story twists into a strange set of dolls changing the main character's head and filling it with tissues. "The fact is however that there just doesn't appear to be any such thing as a typical Quay Brothers film, and it's this sense of restlessly experimenting, progressively moving forward and expanding the range of what their darkly disturbing stop-motion animation techniques can achieve that makes this set such fascinating viewing." (Megahey,2011) The brothers take the most ordinary worlds such as streets and saloons and transform them into unfamiliar and nightmarish visions. The use of puppets touches of the realm of the uncanny because they have the distinct look of a person so animated these forms make them seem creepier. "Contraptions are key to their work and their beaten up little puppets and macabre mannequins frequently find themselves having their strings cut or being subjected to death or worse. Also prevalent is an unexpected mix of the organic with this machinery." (Wilkinson, 2006) This evidence links back to the influence of Svankmajer and how he used sets of characters to destroy each other through the use of media and how it can be manipulated to look revolting.

Figure 2, (2009), The Street of Crocodiles 2

There is not much structure in the stories and logic is lost as the decaying environments and strange characters dominate. This allowed the Quay's to explore empty spaces and basic lighting that makes a realistic sparkle in a doll's eyes, making them the sinister and the unnerving. "Surrealist films aren't meant to be interpreted in the systematic manner of a foreign language, One reads into them what one will, and, in this case, if one has any knowledge of the source material, what one can. The Quay films have the initial impact of monstrous, extremely personal visions of disorder, set in a pocket - sized universe where effects have little to do with causes." (Canby, 1987) The evidence implies that there is no messages or symbolism in surreal animations, they are basically meant to unnerve the audience, creating a twisted atmosphere, that later influenced Tim Burton in his dark themed stop motions.

 Figure 3, (2010), The unnameable little broom


Figure 1, (2008), The Street of Crocodiles 1, @, Accessed on: 11th January 2008

Figure 2, (2009), The Street of Crocodiles 2, @, Accessed on: 15th October 2009

Figure 3, (2010), The unnameable little broom, @, Accessed on: 12th February 2004


Canby Vincent, (1987), Film: Brother's Quay animation, @, Accessed on: 29th April 1987

Megahey Noel, (2011), The Quay Brothers: The short films,@, Accessed on: 20th November 2006

Wilkinson Amber, (2006), eye for film - The quay Brothers, @, Accessed on: 200

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