Felisberto Fernandez is a piano tuner of exceptional skill, hired by Dr. Emmanuel Droz to come to a remote clinic to clean and refurbish Droz's seven automatons, elaborate mechanical constructs. Droz wants the work done quickly, in time for an opera he's staging for himself. Fernandez's attentions are captured by two women at the clinic, Assumpta, the clinic's manager, and Malvina van Stille, a patient who is also a superb singer. Fernandez works on the machines and is drawn to the women while Droz may be manipulating more than the automatons. Do emotions and choice play any part, or it is all opera? Written by
Piano Tuner of Earthquakes will infect your aesthetic life forever.
There are some writers (Kafka, Haruki Murakami), some musicians (Monk, Trane, Beethoven), some artists (Max Ernst) and some directors (The Brothers Quay and possibly David Lynch) whose work never disappoints me.
I don't care if a movie makes sense or not. In fact, I prefer dream logic to real logic (forget about Hollywood logic!). The Piano Tuner draws you into a world you cannot forget. The alternately subtle and dramatic lighting choices the directors/cinematographers made were compelling.
The fact that the protagonist looks a bit like Kafka and has a similar predeliction for dreams and a similar love life happened to resonate for me.
True surrealism did not die out in the Thirties, but what passes for surrealism these days is generally anything that is "weird" or "fantastical." The Brothers Quay have put together a movie that the classic surrealists (and today's surrealists!) would have loved is an accomplishment of which the Brothers Quay should be proud.
Any movie that changes the way I look at the world when I walk out of theater rates ten quivering mechanical thumbs up for me.
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