The film will launch with three epic premieres--one in Philadelphia at the Mütter Museum, one in New York at MoMA, and one in Los Angeles hosted by The Museum of Jurassic Technology. Each city's event will feature a moderated talk with the Quays, while the Mütter Philadelphia opening will also--excitingly!--be accompanied by an exhibition at the museum on the making of the film guest curated by MoMA's Barbara London.
Full details from the press release follow; tickets are, I am warned, selling fast, so act quickly if you want to attend! Hope to see you there.
Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum)
New Quay Brothers short film to premiere September 2011 in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles
“To call the Quays’ work the most original and rapturously vivid image-making on the planet might sound like hyperbole until you see the films. . . .” —Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum) is a documentary on the collections of books, instruments, and medical anomalies at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. This short film (running time: 31 minutes) is the first made by the internationally recognized Quay Brothers in the United States.
As Malcolm Jones (Newsweek) has commented, “the Mütter Museum teaches you indelibly how strange life can be, how unpredictable and various [and] will revise and enlarge your idea of what it is to be human.” The coupling of the Quay Brothers’ vision with the collections of the College’s Historical Medical Library and Museum has produced a riveting experience of contemplative set pieces exploring the College and Mütter Museum. Adding to the film’s visual strength is a powerful musical score by composer Timothy Nelson and a resonant voice-over by Derek Jacobi.
The film premieres in three locations in September 2011, with a moderated conversation with the artists:
- September 22, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 6:30 PM (more here)
- September 24, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 8:00 PM (more here)
- September 27, Cary Grant Theater, SONY Pictures Studios, hosted by The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Los Angeles, 8:00 PM (more here)
An exhibition guest curated by Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art, on the making of the film opens in September 2011 in the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
Subsequent to the premiere screenings, the film will be available for purchase on DVD with an accompanying booklet.
ABOUT THE QUAY BROTHERS
Two of the world’s most original filmmakers, the Quay Brothers are identical twins who were born outside Philadelphia in 1947. The Quays studied illustration in Philadelphia before going on to the Royal College of Art in London, where they began making animated shorts in the 1970s. They have lived in London ever since.
They are best known for their classic 1986 film Street of Crocodiles, which filmmaker Terry Gilliam selected as one of the ten best animated films of all time. In 1994 they made their first foray into live-action feature-length filmmaking with Institute Benjamenta. The Quays’ work also includes set design for theatre and opera, including their 1998 Tony-nominated set designs for Ionesco’s The Chairs on Broadway. The Quays have also directed pop promos for His Name Is Alive, Michael Penn, Sparklehorse, 16 Horsepower, and Peter Gabriel (contributing to his celebrated “Sledgehammer” video), and have also directed ground-breaking commercials for, Honeywell Computers, ICI Wood, K. P. Skips, Nikon, BBC, Coca-Cola, Northern Rock, Dorritos, Roundup, Kellogs, Badoit water, Galaxy, MTV, Nikon, Murphy’s beer and Slurpee, amongst others.
In 2000 they made In Absentia, an award-winning collaboration with Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as two dance films, Duet and The Sandman. In 2002 they contributed an animated dream sequence to Julie Taymor’s film Frida. The following year the Quays made four short films in collaboration with composer Steve Martland for a live event at the Tate Modern in London and in 2005 premiered their second feature film, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, at the Locarno Film Festival.
In addition to Through the Weeping Glass, the Quay Brothers’ other commissioned films over the past twenty years include Anamorphosis (1991), The Phantom Museum (2003), and Inventorium of Traces (2009).
ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF PHILADELPHIA AND THE MÜTTER MUSEUM
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest professional medical organization in the country, was founded in 1787 when twenty-four physicians gathered “to advance the science of medicine and to thereby lessen human misery.” Today more than 1,400 Fellows (elected members) continue to convene at the College and work towards better serving the public.
Throughout its two-hundred-year history, the College has provided a place for both medical professionals and the general public to learn about medicine as both a science and as an art. The College is home to the Historical Medical Library and the Mütter Museum, America’s finest museum of medical history, which displays its beautifully preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments in a nineteenth-century setting. The museum helps the public understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body and to appreciate the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.
With an attendance exceeding 105,000 today, the Museum has become internationally well known, has been featured in a documentary on the Discovery Channel, and is the subject of two best-selling books.
This project has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative.
All images above are frame grabs from the film.