Street of Crocodiles by the Brothers Quay: Saturday Night Short Film #10
Saturday Night Short Film is a weekly series where the overlooked world of the short film is explored. This is not a review even though the film itself is talked about. No score is given, it’s simply meant to be a bite-sized commentary on the film itself and/or the creator(s). Street of Crocodiles is #10.
To watch the film you can rent it here. Normally I post a YouTube link but I couldn’t find one.
When the Brothers Quay are spoken of the ears of many film buffs prick up. They are identical twins who are legends within the realm of animation, due to the style and talent that they constantly put on display. They were influenced by a variety of different artists, showcasing an interest in art in general, but they also influenced a plethora of artists across disparate fields as well.
Admittedly, my experience with them is almost null. I watched Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies back in 2012, twenty-four years after its release. I deeply appreciated the weirdness and the imagery on the screen, while not really having a clue what it was about.
That’s the thing with the more avant-garde side of the spectrum, it’s occasionally difficult to understand. That’s also part of the appeal. But the best creators can make their pictures memorable even if they are incomprehensible. One should be able to get lost in the visuals without needing to discern the actually commentary. The commentary is important but so is entertainment and the craft itself.
The Brothers Quay, with Street of Crocodiles, is attempting both and they succeed. The symbolism is present and a little bit frightening, especially as they layer the distinct and slightly unnatural soundtrack over top of it. The combination creates a demented dance of stop-motion animation that is easy to respect on diverse levels. It can function as a mood piece that washes over you, but if you dig deeper there’s something important at play, even if very few words–a trademark of theirs, from what I’ve read–exist.
He wanted to beat up the dolls.