Institute Benjamenta

  • 1995
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, Fantasy

Brilliantly executed and typically inscrutable, this feature debut of The Brothers Quay will delight fans of the enigmatic duo's "re-animated" shorts, though others may find the pervasive murk and funereal pace off-putting. Jakob von Gunten (Mark Rylance) enrolls at the titular training school for servants, a moribund pile run by despotic headmaster Herr...read more

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Brilliantly executed and typically inscrutable, this feature debut of The Brothers Quay will delight fans of the enigmatic duo's "re-animated" shorts, though others may find the pervasive murk and funereal pace off-putting. Jakob von Gunten (Mark

Rylance) enrolls at the titular training school for servants, a moribund pile run by despotic headmaster Herr Benjamenta (Fassbinder favorite Gottfried John) and his seemingly bewitched sister Lisa (Alice Krige). Once engaged in the Institute's bizarre curriculum (there is only one, endlessly

repeated lesson and much of the day is spent performing ludicrous exercises involving forks and napkins), Jakob becomes increasingly aware of the self-destructive desires implicit in the master/servant relationship. Beautifully shot in pearly black-and-white, the Quays' first live-action film

effectively inverts their previous work with stop-motion puppets -- here, human beings are quite deliberately reduced to automata.

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  • Released: 1995
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Brilliantly executed and typically inscrutable, this feature debut of The Brothers Quay will delight fans of the enigmatic duo's "re-animated" shorts, though others may find the pervasive murk and funereal pace off-putting. Jakob von Gunten (Mark Rylance)… (more)

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