Tales from the Brothers Quay

GreenCineStaff's picture

In any case, it's definitely design-based...

Timothy Quay: Having come from illustration, we did a lot of collage work. The first couple of films that we made were all collage cut-out animation. I think that we ended up getting frustrated with the "frozen image" when we did our drawings and paintings. I think what we really needed was depth, to make use of light, sound, music. I think that's what really pushed us towards puppets, having seen a few puppet things. When we came back to Europe, we were living in Holland and we went down to Belgium to see the Toone Marionette Theater. That really galvanized us. Although we had seen a fair bit of puppet work by then, I think that it was contact with a living tradition that really pushed us. We then applied to the British Film Institute to do experimental films, but our idea was to make a puppet film. Keith [Griffiths], who was at the Royal College with us, was at the BFI at that point and we were living in Holland. He called us back and told us that we got a grant, so we returned [to London] in 1978 and we've been here ever since.

Several of your films from this period were documentaries.

Timothy Quay: There was Punch and Judy [subtitled Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy], [The Eternal Day of] Michel de Ghelderode - he wrote for the Toone puppet theater and that all very neatly tied itself up. And we did a 55-minute documentary on [Jan] Svankmajer for Channel Four [more].

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