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Stille Nacht I (Dramolet)

The Quay Brothers
Dramolet (Stille Nacht I)
UK, Canada 1988 / 2’

Dramolet is dedicated to Robert Walser, one of the literary fascinations of the Brothers Quay (they would refer to his art later, too, in The Comb, Tales from the Vienna Woods and Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life). Walser (1878-1956), author of poems, novels and short stories, master of the short form (including the dramolet – a short drama), spent the last twenty seven years of his life in Swiss psychiatric clinics, Waldau and Herisau. On the 25 December 1956 he was found in the snow near the institution (he had described a similar scene in his early novel The Tanners, 1907). While in Waldau, he penned poems and prose with dense, miniature handwriting (the motif of obsessive recording would return later in a somewhat modified form in the Quays’ In Absentia). Dramolet was commissioned by MTV as part of the cycle MTV Art Break, presented between video-clips. The soundtrack is found music – a cracking record of the Moscow Broadcast, used by the brothers as La Vox de Drohobycz, a piece performed by a children’s orchestra of the Blatt gimnasium [where Schulz taught drawing for some time] conducted by Izydor Hoffman. 

The voice and hum made this world for us. We have always thought that it is the voice of Drohobycza, the town of Bruno Schulz – said the Quays.

Jakub Mikurda

Bracia Quay

Twins, born in 1947. They studied in Philadelphia and continued their education at the Royal College of Art in London, where in the 1970s they directed their first short films. In the 1980s, they made commercials (for Honeywell, Walkers Crisps, and Dulux Wood Protection), music videos (the most famous one - for Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer), and animations which made them popular – The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer, Street of Crocodiles. In 1995, their first feature film premiered: Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream That One Calls Human Life, winner of the Bronze Horse in Stockholm and the jury’s award at the Fantasporto festival. Another full-length live acting film by the brothers is The PianoTuner of EarthQuakes. Their art is inspired by literature, especially by prose by Bruno Schulz and lately - Stanisław Lem.

Cast & Crew

director The Quay Brothers
screenplay The Quay Brothers
cinematography The Quay Brothers
producer Keith Griffiths
production Koninck Studios, MTV
language English
colouration b&w