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In Absentia

In Absentia U rating

The Brothers Quay's powerful visualisation of a piece by Karlheinz Stockhausen. A woman alone in a room repeatedly writes a letter with tiny broken off pieces of pencil lead. Outside her window, vistas of ever-changing light register her every emotion.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 2000 20 mins

Director: Brothers Quay

Overview

The Brothers Quay's powerful visualisation of a piece by Karlheinz Stockhausen. A woman alone in a room repeatedly writes a letter with tiny broken off pieces of pencil lead. Outside her window, vistas of ever-changing light register her every emotion.

Produced for the BBC's Sound on Film season, showcasing collaborations between filmmakers and composers, the Brothers Quay were seemingly the perfect pairing for esteemed avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Unfamiliar with the Stockhausen piece when they agreed to the commission, the Brothers were initially disconcerted by the abstract nature of Zwei Paare, a sparse electronic piece from the 1991 opera Freitag, but soon approached the challenge with their typical ingenuity.