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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the ‘Brothers Quay’ tag


Butcher’s Hook, a film by Simon Pummell


“Butcher’s hook” is Cockney rhyming slang for “look”, something alluded to in this short and wordless blend of live action and animation. But it also has a more sinister connotation when the fate of the taxidermist becomes apparent. As with Pummell’s earlier Secret Joy of Falling Angels, animal skeletons and silhouettes predominate. The film was […]

Posted in {animation}, {film}, {horror} | 1 comment »


The Mascot, a film by Wladyslaw Starewicz


A recent interview with the Brothers Quay mentioned The Mascot (1933), a Starewicz animation I’d not seen, so here it is. IMDB has a summary: A toy stuffed dog has just been sewn together when it hears a young child ask for an orange. The child’s mother explains that they have no money, and so […]

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Weekend links 273


Byronic I by Boris Pelcer. Via Full Fathom Five. • “Music determines everything in terms of our narrative. Music demands, music suggests. Whereas traditional Hollywood animation is all based on character development—you know, there’s Toy Story and it’s Tom Hanks’s voice pushing the thrust of the action. For us, décor is all part of it. […]

Posted in {animation}, {art}, {books}, {drugs}, {electronica}, {film}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {music}, {painting}, {science fiction}, {television} | 2 comments »


The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer, a film by the Brothers Quay


A busy week here (for a change) so this is a bit of a lazy choice but there is a Wunderkammer present. The Quays made this in 1984 for a Svankmajer documentary, and it’s still one of my favourites: Svankmajer as subject, lots of Prague references, and wonderful music (borrowed from Svankmajer’s own films) by […]

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More Brothers Quay scarcities


Look What the Cat Drug In (Long Way Down) (1992). More short films by the Brothers Quay that haven’t yet appeared on their DVDs. Look What the Cat Drug In is a music video for Michael Penn that I was unable to find last time I did a YouTube trawl. It’s a good one. Dolls (1994). […]

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Eurydice…She, So Beloved, a film by the Brothers Quay


Another recent short from the Quays that’s yet to be given a wider release, Eurydice…She, So Beloved (2007) is an opera/dance piece subtitled “Film ballet in homage to the 100th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo“. Orfeo (Simon Keenlyside) sings an aria while Hermes (Kenneth Tharp) rouses Eurydice (Zenaida Yanowsky) from her sleep in a suitably […]

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Inventorium of Traces, a film by the Brothers Quay


Inventorium of Traces was made in 2009 but it’s taken a while to make its way out of Poland in any complete form. In this 25-minute video piece the Quays turn their attention to Lancut Castle, a celebrated Polish stately home, and the former residence of the Potocki family. Of the latter, Jan Potocki would […]

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Secret Joy of Falling Angels, a film by Simon Pummell


An animated film from 1991, Secret Joy of Falling Angels layers a variety of ink and paint effects, sketched outlines and a silhouetted bird skeleton. This creates a very different group of animated angels to those in Borowczyk’s Les Jeux des Anges and Bokanowski’s L’Ange although taken together all three films would make for a strange […]

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Maska: Stanislaw Lem and the Brothers Quay


Did I mention the Brothers Quay? This is a mesmerising piece, and another short film to add to the growing number of Quay works yet to be collected on DVD. Maska (2010) is a 23-minute digital animation based on Stanislaw Lem’s short story, The Mask (1976), which the producers have recently made available on YouTube. […]

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The art of Léon Spilliaert, 1881–1946


Self-portrait (1907). Yesterday’s post gives me an excuse to draw further attention to Belgian Symbolist Léon Spilliaert, an artist whose gloomy and mysterious early style is easy to recognise once you’ve seen a couple of his pictures. Spilliaert grew up in Ostend so the Belgian coast dominates his pastels which renounce sunlit beach scenes in […]

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Weekend links 192


“Chloromgonfus detectis, a dragonfly that can detect volatile pollutants.” A speculative insect by artist Vincent Fournier. • “…a modern taxonomist straddling a Wellsian time machine with the purpose of exploring the Cenozoic era…” Butterflies tied together Vladimir Nabokov’s home, science, and writing, says Mary Ellen Hannibal. • More ghosts: Kira Cochrane on the Victorian tradition of […]

Posted in {animation}, {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {borges}, {burroughs}, {drugs}, {electronica}, {film}, {horror}, {music}, {science fiction}, {science}, {sculpture} | 1 comment »


Two sides of Liska


Et Cetera (1966). A little more on the music of Czech soundtrack composer Zdenek Liska (1922–1983). Liska seems to stand in relation to Czech cinema as Ennio Morricone does to that of the cinema of Italy, being similarly prolific, highly regarded, and idiosyncratic to a degree that makes his work immediately recognisable. Both men could […]

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The Cremator by Juraj Herz


The Cremator, a film directed by Juraj Herz, missed out on the attention given to other Czech films in the late 1960s, something the Brothers Quay note in their enthusiastic introduction to the Second Run DVD. Unlike other films made during the Czech New Wave, Herz’s film premiered in 1969 then was promptly banned, and […]

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Stille Nacht V: Dog Door


A short animation by the Brothers Quay which I evidently missed last year when I was searching for their uncollected works. As far as I’m aware this is the most recent addition to the Stille Nacht series, all of which were made to serve some function external to the films themselves: so Stille Nacht I […]

Posted in {animation}, {film}, {music} | 1 comment »


La femme qui se poudre


The DVD collection of films by Piotr Kamler turned up last week so I’ve been alternating viewing of that with shorts by Patrick Bokanowski. The latter is less an animator than a filmmaker who uses animation or film effects to achieve his aims, together with masks and very stylised performances. Bokanowski’s early film La femme […]

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Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets


It’s not exactly the most appropriate moment to be recommending an exhibition in New York given the chaos in the city following the recent hurricane. However… Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets has been running at MoMA since August, and will continue into early 2013. A copy of the catalogue turned […]

Posted in {animation}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {film}, {theatre}, {typography} | 5 comments »


Labirynt by Jan Lenica


Labirynt. One of the links at the weekend was to this post about the favourite Polish posters of the Brothers Quay, a piece which included an example by designer and illustrator Jan Lenica (1928–2001). Lenica, like the Quays, was also a filmmaker who started out by producing short animations, Labirynt (1963) being one of these […]

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Weekend links 126


Mala Reputación (1991) by Dogo Y Los Mercenarios. Cover art by Nazario Luque. Artist Nazario Luque was Spain’s first gay comic artist who’s also known for the drawing which appeared (without permission) on the sleeve of Lou Reed Live – Take No Prisoners in 1978. On his website Nazario says he’s been described as “Exhibicionista, solidario, […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art nouveau}, {art}, {books}, {comics}, {design}, {electronica}, {fashion}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {psychedelia} | 2 comments »


The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello


This animated short by Anthony Lucas isn’t exactly obscure but I’ve only just noticed that the distributor has the whole film available for viewing on YouTube. The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello blends silhouetted characters and decor with elaborate steam-powered machinery in a manner that looks like the kind of thing Lotte Reiniger might have […]

Posted in {animation}, {film} | 6 comments »


Three Fragments of a Lost Tale


I hadn’t come across sculptor John Frame’s animated work before so my thanks to John Burridge for the recommendation. Three Fragments of a Lost Tale is part of a larger project, The Tale of The Crippled Boy, which is described at Frame’s website. Being a collection of fragments, this film is necessarily mysterious although I […]

Posted in {animation}, {art}, {film}, {sculpture} | 7 comments »







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