Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Brothers Quay Day 1

The Brothers Quay taught a class entitled ANIMATED FILM wherein we viewed a number of films, primarily from former soviet states.

The chance encounter, from Andre Breton's statement, "Beauty as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table," this chance encounter is really central to their work. They love scavenging at local flea markets and are consistently struck by the manner in which objects are arranged; perhaps unconsciously so by the guy running the stall.

Working with puppets, like dance, is a matter of reading texts without vomiting-up dialogue.

We then watched a documentary about their film De Artificiali Perspectiva (this link will show it to you) which discusses anamorphosis. There was some discussion about Holbein's The Ambassadors, which utilizes anamorphosis with great success.

(Not from class, but I find it relevant to introduce here: Holbein's The Body of Christ in the Tomb is also a significant painting, particularly in trying to understand the existential dilemma that has accompanied Modernity. Dostoevsky features this painting prominently in his novel The Idiot. It is said that Dostoevsky was so fascinated by the painting that his wife had to pull him away from it for fear it might induce an epileptic fit in him. The painting seems to illustrate quite well the nonconvergence of metaphysics and our lived experience: there is Christ, simply, stupidly, dead - no suggestion of resurrection whatsoever.)

We then followed-up their film with Medvedkin's Happiness. We then viewed Chris Marker's The Last Bolshevik, a documetary about Medvedkin and the bizarro history that for three generations of Russian filmmakers was rediscovered again and again.

"The surreal cannot be bought off the shelf; surrealism sought to enrich reality, to expand our reality to something wondrous."

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