Quay Brothers

Tapping into a sense of early 20th-century Europe that is a place of dusty nightmares, folkloric paraphernalia and crumbling institutes filled with the dispossessed.

Enter the spooky, surreal and sepia-tinted world of the Brothers Quay.

A mainstay of British animation for forty years, the Quays have conjured a singular style over an incredible body of work that has been highly influential, and much imitated. 

Drawing on traditions of surrealism, expressionism and Eastern European animation, their films conjure indescribably strange worlds of abstract mechanics and anatomical experimentation. 

Masters of puppetry and stop-motion, the Quays also utilise drawn animation and even the occasional actor in their works, such as in their mostly live-action feature, Institute Benjamenta.

Begin exploring their remarkable realm with selection of key works.

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Street of CrocodilesStreet of Crocodiles

Animation & Artists Moving Image198621 minsDirector: Brothers Quay

The Quays' best-known (and highest budgeted) short takes place in nightmarish netherworld populated by strange and sinister puppets.

Currently unavailable

Institute Benjamenta Institute Benjamenta

Drama1995105 minsDirector: Brothers Quay

Mark Rylance stars in the debut feature film from the Brothers Quay. A student at a peculiar school for servants gradually uncovers its secrets and, by extension, those of life itself.

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The Phantom MuseumThe Phantom Museum

200312 minsDirector: Brothers Quay

The Quay Brothers' partly animated exploration of the Wellcome Trust's medical collections.

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The CombThe Comb

Animation & Artists Moving Image199018 minsDirector: Brothers Quay

A woman dreams of a fairytale landscape populated by ladders and sinister puppets.

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In AbsentiaIn Absentia

Animation & Artists Moving Image200020 minsDirector: Brothers Quay

The Brothers Quay's visualisation of a piece by Karlheinz Stockhausen. A woman alone in a room repeatedly writes a letter with tiny broken off pieces of pencil lead. Outside her window, vistas of ever-changing light register her every emotion.

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Nocturna ArtificialiaNocturna Artificialia

Animation & Artists Moving Image197921 minsDirector: Brothers Quay

The debut film from the Brothers Quay follows a dreamer who's seduced by the mystery of the city at night. He leaves his room and goes into the street, where a tram-car carries him away.

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This Unnameable Little BroomThis Unnameable Little Broom

Animation & Artists Moving Image198511 minsDirector: Brothers Quay

The Brothers Quay take on the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh, presenting the character as a childlike figure who sets a series of vicious traps to catch Enkidu, the guileless forest creature.

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The Cabinet of Jan Švankmajer The Cabinet of Jan Švankmajer

Animation & Artists Moving Image198414 minsDirector: Brothers Quay and Keith Griffiths

An intricate, multi-layered exploration of the aesthetic and philosophical aspects of Švankmajer's animated films.

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Rehearsals for Extinct AnatomiesRehearsals for Extinct Anatomies

Animation & Artists Moving Image198814 minsDirector: Brothers Quay

Beautiful near-abstract black-and-white animation inspired by the work of painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard (and his anatomist cousin Honoré).