Differing to the first longer feature with humans by the Quays, Institute Benjamenta, this stands in a slightly differing frame..
The concepts of operatic performance, of just performance in general seems to contaminate the whole ensemble, everything is measured long & hangs in the air. The animation is lesser than many watching Quays earlier shorts might prefer. However, the animations, particularly automatons, now seem to suggest & become the more surreal for their sudden appearances amongst the 'real' human interaction.
More dialogue than monologue than previous, more music that apparently is library stock of a ballet theme, than the jarring notes in the past. Perhaps many people dislike this more 'palatable' arrangement, slightly forced upon the Quay brothers by financing companies..,which suggests 'make us something people will understand'. Well, no, you still won't quite grasp every layer in one sitting..
As mentioned in the interview also on the disc, the film has been disliked by many, possibly expecting more of the same from their last venture. However, this is a film that i think it fair to say, on third viewing or so will suddenly be a source of adoration. Its visually sonorous, flitting timeless.
Aside from many authors i mused upon when seeing Institute Benjaments, or related filmic thoughts, the main one that came to mind here was the book 'The Invention of Morel' by Casares. Very much a similar shade of metaphysical romances..
Give it all a chance to mellow & the 'alternate' Quays styling will impress upon the memories very finely.