Friday, November 12, 2010

Quay Brothers: Surrealism in Interactivity

The Quay Brothers are twin animators based on a remarkable set of short films such as Street of Crocodiles and The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer. The video shown in class (below) was a clip from Street of Crocodiles. The setting in the video is unique compared to the traditional cartoons. In this case, we see the characters as a bunch of toys pieced together, but in a surreal like way. The dark, corrupted setting reminds me of films made by Tim Burton, particularly Nightmare Before Christmas and in some ways, Alice in Wonderland.

The video below also had an important quote that contributed to the narrative and setting:

In that city of cheap human material, no instincts can floursih, no dark and unusual passions can be aroused. THE STREET OF CROCODILES was a consession of our city to modernigy and metropolitan corruption. The misfortune of that area is that nothing ever succeeds there, nothing can ever reach a definite conclusion. Obviously, we were unable to afford anything bettern than a cardbarod imitation, a photo montage cut out from lasy year's mouldering newspapers. Obviously, we were unable to afford anything better.

Based on this context, this movie was probably created probably due to the financial status of both the Brothers and the city they lived in. If we can recall from history, the setting in the video appears to have the look of a ghost town, just like the look of the U.S. during the Great Depression. Therefore, it seems like the Quay brothers produced a film by using only the old stuff they had.

All in all, I definitely think that creating a movie using old toys, parts, and classic sets is an interesting way of creating a narrative. Though most people find it difficult to create movies in this fashion, I think its one of the most simplest ways of generating such an excellent, classic film (even though it gets creepy at some points).

1 comment:

Alexa Henderson said...

I recently went back and watched this video and saw the afore-mentioned quote from the short film, "The Street of Crocodiles". Initially, I was somewhat repulsed, though intrigued, by the dark imagery and eerie feel of the piece. The quote helped me to understand the morbid vibe of the film and it took on a somewhat more understanding, even adoring? head space for the work. It is interesting how knowing what the reason behind a work of art is, can often completely change your view of it. It reminds me of the of the Moths piece we watched in your DMS class. Initially, I had no connection with the work, but when it was explained that the artist painstakingly took the time to make each frame a work of visual art, I could take the time to evaluate it with interest. Context is key!