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Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Quay Brothers

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Quay Brothers
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  • Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer
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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.

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Quay
  • 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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 261 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MQ4WP6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,923 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.

DISC ONE: THE FILMS
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?
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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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...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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By gam on October 16, 2007
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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Few filmmakers are capable of creating works as innovative, brave, provocative, and haunting as those produced by identical twin brothers Stephen and Timothy Quay. Working primarily in the medium of stop-motion animation, the Quay Brothers create immersive and singular worlds populated by puppets navigating realms removed from traditional expectations of narrative storytelling. These settings are often constructed with an aesthetic that evokes extremely surreal, dream-like feelings far removed from those fashioned within even the most popular works of animation or those seen in the broader spectrum of experimental or avant-garde filmmaking.

Influenced by a wide-range of artists across multiple mediums—from the animation of Jan Svankmajer, to the music of Czeck composers (who also score much of their work), to traditional ballet, to the writings of Kafka and Bruno Schulz—the brothers filter these influences through the prism of their singular imagination to beautiful and astounding results. The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer and Street of Crocodiles serving as perhaps the best example of this marriage between like-minded thinkers and the Quays own distinctive creative output.

Though Street of Crocodiles remains their most famous and perhaps best work, the disc also includes a treasure trove of lesser-known or hard to find pieces, particularly my own favorite: In Absentia. This twenty-minute-film depicts the crumbling psychology of a woman trapped in a mental institution writing letters to her husband. Though this is the surface level description of what is happening, the Quay’s depiction of this tragic psychological condition creates a deeply unsettling yet hypnotizing glimpse into the mindscape of this woman as has never been so uniquely produced on film.
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