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Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Quay Brothers (2007)

Quay Brothers  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Quay Brothers + Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer + Jiri Barta: Labyrinth of Darkness
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Product Details

  • Directors: Quay Brothers
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 261 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MQ4WP6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,716 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two of the world’s most original filmmakers, identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay have been creating their unique blend of puppetry and stop-motion animation for nearly 30 years and have spawned an enormous cult following. The Quays display a passion for detail, a breathtaking command of color and texture, and an uncanny use of focus and camera movement that make their films unique and instantly recognizable. Best known for their classic 1986 film STREET OF CROCODILES -- which filmmaker Terry Gilliam recently selected as one of the ten best animated films of all time -- they are masters of miniaturization and on their tiny sets have created an unforgettable world, suggestive of a landscape of long-repressed childhood dreams. This new two-disc set contains thirteen of their classic short films—some never-before-available on DVD—in brand-new, restored and remastered editions (personally supervised by the Quays), plus a collection of "footnotes" including new audio commentaries, extensive interviews, alternative versions, unrealized pilot projects and more. PHANTOM MUSEUMS: THE SHORT FILMS OF THE QUAY BROTHERS also features a 24-page, gorgeously illustrated booklet, including an extensive Quay Dictionary and a new essay by film critic Michael Atkinson.

For those who already know the short films of the Brothers Quay, Phantom Museums is a welcome, thorough investigation of a lifelong dedication to stop-motion animation and dream sequence narratives. For those just discovering this identical twin team of Stephen and Timothy Quay, Phantom Museums is the place to start. This two-disc set includes roughly twenty of their projects, chronologically spanning thirty years. Inspired by the old-fashioned look of early animated features such as The Adventures of Prince Achmed, as well as Jan Svankmajer and Jiri Barta's films, The Brothers Quay built their reputation on combining the quaintness and delicacy of early animation with present day macabre. As miniaturists, they painstakingly hand assembled decadent sets, such as an ancient library, a shrunken head vault at the natural history museum, and spiral staircases. Homemade dolls with missing eyes, pins, needles, and screws, protractors, and other tiny metallic things, make characters and their environs grotesquely techno, framed by carnivalesque camerawork in which the viewer experiences scenes from every possible angle. Highly anatomical, they sometimes use steaks and livers to represent doll innards. Watching these films now, one appreciates their Goth quality, especially because of the romantic, classical musical accompaniment. Their influence on the music video industry is also apparent. Each film has a unique story and production design, so that although the overall Quay aesthetic is clear, variation avoids redundancy. Phantom Museums also includes director commentary, alternate versions, and a wonderful filmed interview with the pair, in which they discuss their father forcing them to choose between either becoming gym teachers or artists. Lucky for us. --Trinie Dalton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I must be dreaming. January 19, 2007
As a long time Quay fan this is manna. I went to the Zeitgeist web site and it sounds nothing short of incredible:

Box Synopsis:

Since the late 1970s, identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay have made a unique contribution to animation in general and the puppet film in particular. Filtering arcane visual, literary, musical, cinematic and philosophical influences through their own utterly distinctive sensibility, each Quay film rivets the attention through hypnotic control of décor, music and movement, evoking half-remembered dreams and long-suppressed childhood memories, fascinating and deeply unsettling in turn.

This new two-disc set contains thirteen of their classic short films in brand-new, restored and remastered editions, plus a collection of footnotes including extensive interviews, alternative versions, unrealized pilot projects and more. The Quays were extensively involved with the preparation of this set--from personally supervising the transfers to recording audio commentaries for selected works.

Zeitgeist Films is proud to present Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Quay Brothers in exclusive slipcase packaging--with a 24-page illustrated booklet including an extensive Quay Brothers Dictionary and a new essay by film critic Michael Atkinson.

The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer (1984)
*This Unnameable Little Broom (Epic of Gilgamesh) (1985)
*Street of Crocodiles (1986), plus original treatment
Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies (1987)
*Stille Nacht I (Dramolet) (1988)
The Comb (1990)
Anamorphosis (1991)
*Stille Nacht II (Are We Still Married?
Read more ›
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What does it mean? June 7, 2007
I have often wondered what the films of the Brothers Quay mean. Or more precisely, if they have any meaning at all. Thanks to the excellent extras included with this DVD set I am finally starting to get an inkling. However, the main attraction of this set are the films themselves, which are presented in beautiful, pristine condition. I have viewed these films on an earlier DVD collection, but the quality of "Phantom Museums" blows it away! "Phantom Museums" actually includes a couple films I have not seen before! A must for fans!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...forgetting Stockhausen? May 5, 2007
...yes, this edition is nothing short of AMAZING! -what makes this edition more appealing to me is not only the beautifully remastered versions of these dark and haunting films but the 2 added shorts, especially In Absentia, using german composer Karlhienz Stockhausen's score. The inventor of pure electronic music!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome October 16, 2007
By gam
I got the chance to purchase the BFI region 2 release of this edition for a very reasonable price and i think there are no big difference in comparison to the us release except for the cover and two trailers not on the BFI release.
I just can not believe there are not so many reviews about this excellent release of their short films, the first Tool music videos rip them off, Tim Burton`s The Nightmare Before Christmas is Disney compared to them, wait a minute... it was a Disney release, excuse moi! Sorry little children.

Anyway these animation are excellent, the second disc includes the very first animation film made from them, there are also audio comments on most of the shorts on disc one, etc. Just grab a copy and you will see.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome upgrade from the 2000 collection DVD! September 20, 2009
Verified Purchase
The 2000 version of the BQC was good for what it was but this version takes it up a notch,especially with the extras and new film/s(?).

As far as content,you can expect abstract stop-motion animation of the highest caliber;some films may not be easily decipherable on the first few viewings but part of the fun of these films is the repeat viewing value!

fans of surrealism,animation,david lynch's animation,tim burton's animation,or even older surrealism like jean cocteau,luis bunel,or maya deren:check this out because it's totally engulfing and brings you within a world that is very interesting!it's the real deal.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, clean animation July 27, 2011
By Theo
Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully packaged 2-disc dvd set that contains all of the Quays' short film work from 1984-2003. The films are of course stunning and I absolutely loved the Quays' own commentary on Gilgamesh, Crocodiles, Stille Nacht I-III, & In Absentia.

I recommend the Phantom Museums to anyone who is interested in the Quay Brothers and may just be starting to delve and rummage within their realm of dreams, realities, nightmares, and fantasies. People who already love the Quays truly cherish this veritable compendium of shorts from the masters of animation & visual artistry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius June 20, 2009
Verified Purchase
In short, their short films are amazing. I am going to have to save up in my piggy bank to purchase their feature length films. Very sophisticated and thought provoking material that will be overlooked by the masses as is usually the case in the "entertainment" business.

Love & Light
J bird
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful compilation September 26, 2008
Any fan of the Quay Brothers will love this collection. The haunting imagery and bizarre narrative is incredibly mesmerizing and inspired. Truly geniuses - the Brothers Quay are worthy heirs to the Svankmajer aesthetic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm in the middle...
I didn't love these films, I didn't hate them. I liked some parts and some parts creeped me out. It's difficult to summarize this type of work, so I'm not going to try. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Malfoyfan
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Art on Film
This full collection of the works of the Brothers Quay is well put together in an attractive box and comes with a booklet describing each piece.
Published 8 months ago by Sharon Angelina
1.0 out of 5 stars nervous disintegration romanticised and slogged as deep meaning
a flat field footlocker two dvds a book one glorious hole the inside of whose idiocy isn't a nice place to play with all these pseudointellectual steely dans for the highbrow... Read more
Published 9 months ago by ERIC MUNSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
If your a fan of Mark Romanek's Nine Inch Nails's Closer video, or you like the videos by the band Tool, then you will love this stop motion dvd. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars you have to be slow eyed
I first saw the street of crocodiles in '95. I know that makes me late in seeing it and old, but it moved me. I have watched it over and over, ever since. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Santiago Cal
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for most people
Bad puppeteering, a monotonous dark palette, lights flickering on and off, frequent irrelevant captions, no story, no character, nothing of meaning or interest. Read more
Published on November 18, 2011 by Shagbark
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE THIS COLLECTION!!!
This is a must have for any Brothers Quay fan! Even if you are only somewhat familiar with their works, you will be most pleased and HOOKED after watching this collection of... Read more
Published on July 27, 2011 by Mystery
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply incredible
These shorts cover a long period of the brothers' joint career. In fact, one on the second disk, deliberately segregated from the more mature material on the first, shows just how... Read more
Published on August 14, 2008 by wiredweird
5.0 out of 5 stars Ha Ha TOOL fans
TOOL videos totally rip these films off!

Some of the most haunting film ever created, all together captivating and horrific yet beautiful. Read more
Published on February 8, 2008 by Burnt Fur
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