Tales Of The Brothers Quay: A Retrospective | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Tales Of The Brothers Quay: A Retrospective

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More unnerving than the undead, perhaps, are the never-alive suddenly animated. But stop-motion quickening of woodscrews, carpenter's rules and time-pocked wooden dolls is just one dark delight in the cinema of the Brothers Quay, whose crepuscular miniatures send you spelunking in the dank caverns of the subconscious. Expressionistic deployments of light and shadow and an obsessive regard for texture -- frayed cloth, worm-creased wood, parched soil -- combine in this showcase of 25 years of shorts by the American-born, British-based siblings. With "The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer," in which pins, feathers and dolls (hollow-headed boy, book-skulled professore) populate a metaphysical playroom, the Quays acknowledge an obvious influence. But they cement their own legend with work like "Rehearsal for Extinct Anatomies" (pure visual music scored for puppet, nipple and fan blade) and the stunning "Street of Crocodiles." If a couple latter-day pieces feel labored, it's nothing next to an incredible bird-man ("The Unnameable Little Broom"), art history as magic ("Anamorphosis"), an unforgettable tour of a medical-antiquities repository ("The Phantom Museum"), waves of spontaneous generation and spasms of instantaneous decay. In two 80-minute programs. Starts Fri., April 13. Melwood

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