A dreamer is seduced by the mystery of the city at night. He leaves his room and goes into the street, where a tram-car carries him away. “As with much of their later work, it’s impossible to provide a coherent synopsis of the earliest surviving film by the Quay Brothers, as NOCTURNA ARTIFICIALIA defies attempts at verbal encapsulation at every turn. The Quays themselves acknowledged this when they said “as for what is called the scenario, at most we have only a limited musical sense of its trajectory, and we tend to be permanently open to vast uncertainties, mistakes, disorientations, as though lying in wait to trap the slightest fugitive ‘encounter’. ”Shot on 16mm and funded by the British Film Institute's Production Board, NOCTURNA ARTIFICIALIA is a remarkably confident piece of work, the Quays surmounting obvious technical and budgetary limitations to create a private universe entirely out of their own recurring obsessions. Their later films may be more assured, but their roots are clearly visible here.” –Michael BrookeNOCTURNA ARTIFICIALIA is available on DVD as part of the PHANTOM MUSEUMS: THE SHORT FILMS OF THE QUAY BROTHERS box set.
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