Manufacturing Dreams: The Quay Brothers


‘Street of Crocodiles’

Editorial Note: We’re excited to announce that Keyframe is expanding its video offerings, with more videos from a variety of highly talented video essayists. Many of these new contributors were featured in last year’s roundup of the best video essays of 2014. Fandor and Keyframe are committed to supporting the video essay as an emerging mode of criticism, as well as an art form in itself and look forward to celebrating more of them on this site.

To launch this new endeavor, our inaugural contribution comes from Joel Bocko, an emerging video essayist who last year produced an epic, four-part exploration of David Lynch‘s Twin Peaks. Here he presents a poetic examination of one of the all-time great works of stop motion animation, Street of Crocodiles by Stephen and Timothy Quay. What follows is Joel’s introduction.

The Quay Brothers’ stop-motion masterpiece Street of Crocodiles presents a dream world composed of eerie objects, sharp movements and cryptic visual associations. The film borrows its title and one of its scenes from Bruno Schulz‘s avant-garde short story about a small-town neighborhood that imitates big-city life (select “Ulica Krokodyli” to read the story here). Likewise, the onscreen puppets experience both uncanny promise and frustrating limitation. “Manufacturing Dreams” is an open meditation on Street of Crocodiles, exploring the Quays’ techniques and dramatic motifs through a series of questions and observations.

Manufacturing Dreams: The Quay Brothers from Fandor Keyframe on Vimeo.

Joel Bocko’s films and video essays, including Journey Through Twin Peaks, directed by De Palma, and Class of 2002, can be found on Vimeo, YouTube and his blog Lost in the Movies (

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