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Lech Jankowski – Institute Benjamenta

Author: Colin | Published: 3/9/11

Lech Jankowski - Institute Benjamenta

Lech Jankowski - Institute Benjamenta

Lech Jankowski - Institute Benjamenta

Lech Jankowski - Institute Benjamenta

Lech Jankowski - Institute Benjamenta

Lech Jankowski - Institute Benjamenta

Lech Jankowski - Institute Benjamenta

Artist Lech Jankowski
Title Institute Benjamenta
Label Atelier Koninck
Year 1994
Design Uncredited, probably Brothers Quay
Music Soundtrack
Notes I’m a longtime fan of the Brothers Quay’s work, from their short films to this, their first feature and its successor, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes. Institute Benjamenta stars the luminous Alice Krige as the tragic heroine Lisa Benjamenta and Mark Rylance as the puzzled, mischievous Jakob Von Gunten, eponymous hero of Robert Walser’s novel. The film is as much a dream-like reflection on Walser as it is an interpretation of his novel about a school for servants.

This CD is sadly long out of print, but the crepuscular music, one of my favourite soundtracks, may be found online by the determined searcher. Although Jankowski was a favoured collaborator, something seems to have gone badly wrong as none of his music was used for The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, the library music for Chris Marker’s La Jetée being substituted instead.

The design of this CD is a typographic joy, unafraid to cram text and image together in the confined spaces allowed by the jewel-case. Informed by Polish culture and the films of Jan Svankmajer, the Quay’s abstraction, deep sense of light and fascination for microscopic movement transcend their influences to produce a timeless, haunted narrative. After years of being very hard to find, the film has just been re-released as a joint Blu-Ray/DVD by the BFI and is hugely recommended.

Watch
Listen Finale

Lullaby/Waltz

Also Simon Fisher Turner – Caravaggio

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