Expanding Inward

With Institute Benjamenta, the Brothers Quay widen their dreamscape to human proportions.

The Quays would probably hate this connection, but their skill in using architecture and "found" objects as clues to interior experience is just as impressive as Disney's "Architecture of Reassurance" on view at the Walker (where, coincidentally, Institute Benjamenta had its local debut last year). It also helps that in this film their dream-drama has genuine actors: in particular; Krige and Rylance, who bring out much of the pathos and longing of their story. Black-and-white film, elusive editing rhythms, and an obsession with too-close closeups all preserve the mystery presented by these sensitive performances.

By calling in actors and going on at greater length, the Quays have opened up their interests to more accessible scrutiny. Though their physical vision may never go far beyond miniature sets and a few studio-built spaces, they're seeing a bigger picture than ever before. Or maybe a deeper picture: By using rooms and corridors to explore psychological mysteries, they've become pioneers on a mini-wagon train of their own. They're heading not westward but more sincerely inward, and the results are bound to be more and more rewarding.

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Institute Benjamenta plays at Oak Street Cinema Wednesday and Thursday at 7:20 and 9:40 p.m.

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