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Production

©1998–2017
Dustin Putman




The Quay Brothers:
Collected Short Films
  (2015)

Reviewed for TheBluFile.com by Dustin Putman

The Film
(Release Date: November 24, 2015) – From the press release: American identical twins working in London, stop motion animators Stephen and Timothy Quay (born 1947 in Norristown, Pennsylvania) find their inspiration in Eastern European literature and classical music and art, their work distinguished by its dark humor and an uncanny feeling for color and texture. The Quays have been making their unique blend of puppetry and stop-motion animation for over 30 years and have spawned an enormous cult following. Masters of miniaturization, they turn their tiny sets into unforgettable worlds suggestive of long-repressed childhood dreams.

The Blu-ray contains the following films – all for the first time on Blu-ray:
    THE CABINET OF JAN SVANKMAJER (1984, 14 mins)
    THIS UNNAMEABLE LITTLE BROOM (or THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH) (1985, 11 mins)
    STREET OF CROCODILES (1986, 21 mins)
    REHEARSALS FOR EXTINCT ANATOMIES (1987, 14 mins)
    STILLE NACHT I: DRAMOLET (1988, 2 mins)
    THE COMB (1990, 18 mins)
    ANAMORPHOSIS (1991, 14 mins)
    STILLE NACHT II (ARE WE STILL MARRIED?) (1992, 3 mins)
    STILLE NACHT III (TALES FROM VIENNA WOODS) (1993, 4 mins)
    STILLE NACHT IV (CAN'T GO WRONG WITHOUT YOU) (1994, 4 mins)
    IN ABSENTIA (2000, 20 mins)
    THE PHANTOM MUSEUM (2003, 12 mins)
    MASKA (2010, 23 mins)
    THROUGH THE WEEPING GLASS (2011, 31 mins)
    UNMISTAKEN HANDS (2013, 26 mins)
    QUAY - a film by Christopher Nolan (2015, 8 mins)
The special digipak packaging includes a 28-page booklet which contains an introduction by Christopher Nolan, an updated Quay dictionary by Michael Brooke, and an updated essay by film critic Michael Atkinson.

Blu-ray Picture/Sound
 A/A

The film-to-digital 1080p transfers on this disc, created under the supervision of the Quays themselves, are absolutely superb. The shorts, spanning four decades, incorporate a smorgasbord of looks, styles and film stocks. Some segments are in black and white while others are in color, some include an old-timey flickering effect and intended scratches and grain, while others sparkle with clarity. Some are stop-motion animation and others include live-action. No matter what the Quay Brothers' intentions were, every single one of them is exceeded by the capabilities of the high-def format. Detail is strong through, even in softer shots, while the dignity of the cinematography comes through splendidly. The grain field is evenly distributed and true to source. The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio is arresting and complex enough to sound at times like a 5.1 track. These shorts live and breathe as much through their sound design as through their experimental visuals, and the aural presentation is frequently transporting, taking fine advantage of its two channels.

Blu-ray Features
  • Six audio commentaries with the Quay Brothers
Bottom Line
"The Quay Brothers: Collected Short Films" is a rapturous compilation of many of the Quays' most notable works, followed by a 2015 short-form documentary on their process made by Christopher Nolan. Avant-garde, to be sure, but undisputed works of art, these shorts will be of great interest to stop-motion animation enthusiasts and art-house audiences. Highly recommended.

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© 2015 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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