Jakob arrives at the Institute Benjamenta (run by brother and sister Johannes and Lisa Benjamenta) to learn to become a servant. With seven other men, he studies under Lisa: absurd lessons ... See full summary »
In Prague, a professorial puppet, with metal pincers for hands and an open book for a hat, takes a boy as a pupil. First, the professor empties fluff and toys from the child's head, leaving... See full summary »
A documentary on the subject of the collections of books, instruments and medical anomalies at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mutter Museum housed there. This short film ... See full summary »
A magnet moves on a floor. A moth beats against a window. A doll child watches the magnet; threads of metal filings gather around the magnet. The doll, who's sitting at a table, looks in a ... See full summary »
Loosely based on the Mesopotamian "Epic of Gilgamesh", here Gilgamesh is portrayed as a grotesque, Picasso-esque being who uses a tricycle to patrol his box-shaped kingdom that hovers above a dark abyss.
A very free adaptation of Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus', Goethe's 'Faust' and various other treatments of the old legend of the man who sold his soul to the devil. Svankmajer's Faust is a ... See full summary »
In the Alpine village of Tolzbad in the 1800s, the townsfolk talk quietly and restrain their movements lest they incur avalanches. This atmosphere lends itself to repressed emotions - shown... See full summary »
Jakob arrives at the Institute Benjamenta (run by brother and sister Johannes and Lisa Benjamenta) to learn to become a servant. With seven other men, he studies under Lisa: absurd lessons of movement, drawing circles, and servility. He asks for a better room. No other students arrive and none leave for employment. Johannes is unhappy, imperious, and detached from the school's operation. Lisa is beautiful, at first tightly controlled, then on the verge of breakdown. There's a whiff of incest. Jakob is drawn to Lisa, and perhaps she to him. As winter sets in, she becomes catatonic. Things get worse; Johannes notes that all this has happened since Jakob came. Is there any cause and effect? Written by
It is fairly rare that moving pictures are made with real artistic value in mind and even more rare when the endeavor pays off. Well, The Quay brothers' Institute Benjamenta is one such picture. At first sight it might appear a little too pretentious with an abounding array of hidden symbolism of a strange and antique meaning but then again, the basic thread of the picture is as old as humanity itself, pointing back to the ancestral roots of what makes us human: to love and to loose. It is remarkable the technique and the rendering of the camera in the Quay brothers' masterpiece. You cannot but help wondering if the images themselves are not centuries old and, in a sense, that is exactly the aim of the picture, to make itself look old and timeless, at the same time. I urge anyone who is really looking for that special feeling films give us, far from commercialism and hollywoodia, to see this movie. Sure, most of you will find it a little bit hard to watch but if you give it patience and let the mood of the picture fill you from within your imagination then I think this will be a rewarding cinematic experience.
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