I’ve been curious about Chris Nolan’s next project for some time now. As probably my favourite working director, his slate is something I try and stay in-the-know about, and I’ve long suspected he might try and go small after exploring whole other galaxies, but I didn’t quite expect him to go as small as stop-motion. Well, he’s not the one directing the stop-motion, but he is directing a documentary about two people who do; identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay.
The Quays began their work in the 1970s, around the time Nolan was growing up, and like him, they went back and forth between England and the United States. Their work doesn’t have much mainstream exposure, though if anyone’s capable of changing that, it’s the guy whose Batman movies grossed nearly two and half billion dollars worldwide. The short doc will premiere at Film Forum NYC on August 19th, alongside a special showcase of the Quays’ work curated by Nolan himself (with the Quays in attendance), screened from all-new 35mm prints.
These three Quay masterworks, selected by director Christopher Nolan, feature broken pencils and lead shavings in IN ABSENTIA (2000; “a dazzling piece of work” – The Guardian); a porcelain doll’s explorations of a dreamer’s imagination in THE COMB (1991; “most beautiful of their recent films” – The New Yorker); and the nightmarish netherworld of STREET OF CROCODILES (1986; “their crowning achievement” – Film Comment); and for the first time ever, QUAY (2015), Nolan’s new short film revealing the inner workings of the Brothers’ studio. All four films in 35mm.
Quay is a Syncopy release, so it’s likely that Nolan had a hand in the restorations of the three animated shorts being screened. It’s nice to see the director apply his love for celluloid to something so niche and obscure. The series is scheduled to run from the 19th to the 25th of August, though with enough traction it’s likely that the theatre will hold it over for another week or two, as they often do. Tickets are currently on sale at the Film Forum website.