Dramolet (1988)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental  |   Run Time - 2 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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Stephen and Timothy Quay conceived and shot Dramolet (1988), the first film in their multipart Still Nacht series, as a two-minute short for an MTV Art Break, after gaining fame for their work on Peter Gabriel's wondrous "Sledgehammer" music video. The Quays shot the film on patchy, grainy stock, in deep chiaroscuro (to emulate the "gothic" aesthetic of the German expressionist films), with German-language credits opening and closing the piece, and a heavy, dark onslaught of foreboding organ music by Lzydor Hoffman on the soundtrack. Dramolet begins with a cracked and ragged puppet (with no hair and empty sockets for eyes) watching through the window of his cabin as a visual symphony of iron filings unfolds on the ground, the filings dancing around a magnet and eventually clustering atop it. The filings eventually materialize in the puppet's soup bowl, as he sits at a wooden table with a metal spoon before him, and he studies them dancing and gyrating in his dish. Spoons then briefly emerge, en masse, from the wall behind the puppet, and the utensil on the table doubles, then blurs, and scuttles over several inches toward the puppet's hand. As the film fades out and then back in for a second, the puppet begins to reach into his bowl.