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Stille Nacht IV (Can’t Go Wrong Without You)

The Quay Brothers
UK 1993 / 3’

Continuation of Are We Still Married, a second film to the song by the band His Name Is Alive. The same trio (a girl, a rabbit and a demonic figure behind the door) in a bit more expanded staging. The stage design (stairs, shadows, curves, sudden refractions of perspective) refers not so much to the German film expressionism but to the pith-black graphics of Piranesi from The Prisons series. The whole plot (like in the Street of Crocodiles) is activated by a falling drop – here: a drop of blood from the girl’s cut finger. The swings between childhood and adulthood – suggested (like in the first film) by constant stretching and shrinking – makes us think also about the first menstrual blood. The Quay Brothers discretely flirt with anamorphosis – the image seen through a keyhole keeps growing excessively and the ping-pong ball from Are We Still Married becomes an egg that the rabbit is trying to protect against his persecutor. Can’t Go Wrong Without You – as Michael Brooke wrote – leaves us with a dominant impression that if we only could pull the right string, the whole world [of the Quay Brothers] would instantly unravel.


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
visual design The Quay Brothers
producer His Name Is Alive
production Ivo Watts-Russell, Keith Griffiths
language English
colouration b&w