It’s Cartoon Friday, again!
Tonight’s selection is Street of Crocodiles, a 1986 short film by the Brothers Quay. A pair of identical twins born in the US, they now reside and work in England.
In Crocodiles, a puppet freed from its strings is abandoned to explore a haunting world. Puppets are a common theme in the Brothers’ stop-motion animation. The inanimate is frequently given a weird sort of life. The effect is to create a funhouse reflection of the human experience — its loneliness, fragility, and sometimes hope.
Crocodiles is based on a novel of the same name by Polish author Bruno Schulz. Polish artists and animators are frequently cited as influences of their work.
Writing for the Guardian in 2001, Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam called Street of Crocodiles one of his ten favorite animated films of all time:
There is something peculiar about falling for [Polish animator] Jan Svankmajer and then discovering the Quay brothers — Americans who came to Europe and somehow wound up working in a style that felt like Polish animation. As an American, I always wanted to be seduced into this strange decadent, rotting idea of Europe, and the Quays have created that world in a manner which hypnotises me, but which I don’t fully understand. Maybe I like them because they ended up going further east than I did.
I first encountered the duo’s work in weird animated station identification spots for MTV. Like Liquid Television, this is another reminder that the network used to showcase the bizarre and the creative far more than today. The same could be said of Viacom sister-network Nickelodeon’s early days.
Right now I’m catching up on Rick & Morty, co-created by House of Cosbys‘ Jason Roiland. Have you seen any good cartoons lately? Tell me about them in the comments.
Can’t Reach Your Diary? If you’re having trouble posting or reaching your diary recently, this may be a known and fixable issue. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please review our About Us page if you need a refresher on site rules, and
- We encourage you to use our flag system — if you see an abusive comment, user or post, please flag it rather than replying. We review every flag and take the best action available to us.
- If you have questions or concerns about Firedoglake-specific issues, please limit their discussion to Watercooler posts rather than starting new posts or making off-topic comments in others. But remember,
- Firedoglake editors and staff are not allowed to comment on any moderation decisions.
What’s on your mind tonight? Got Firedoglake questions? The watercooler is an open conversation.
Brothers Quay sculpture photographed by Raffi Asdourian, released under a Creative Commons license.