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Stille Nacht II (Are We Still Married?)

The Quay Brothers
UK 1992 / 3’

There is a table, a small bottle, a white moulted rabbit and a closed door. There is a girl who in turns gets bigger and smaller to the somnolent rhythm of Are We Still Married by the group His Name Is Alive. Something presses from the outside, wants to get inside, a gnarled hand knocks on the window (maybe it got here from The Comb). Warren Defevner, the founder of the group, asked the Quay Brothers if he could use fragments of Street of Crocodiles as an illustration to one of his songs. They refused but were so enchanted by the band’s music that they decided to make a completely different film. Its main inspiration however was not Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the brothers claim not to have read it), but a photo of a little girl standing by the door, with a table tennis bat in her hand. The authors erroneously thought the handle to be a ping-pong ball, hence its double status in the film. This is a video clip made by Max Ernst – somebody wrote about Are We Still Married. The Quay Brothers included the film in the Stille Nacht cycle, claiming that it is full of the same “noir element”.

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
cinematography The Quay Brothers
music His Name Is Alive
visual design the Quay Brothers
producer Ivo Watts-Russell, Keith Griffiths
production 4AD Records, Koninck Studios
language English
colouration b&w