Jakob arrives at the Institute Benjamenta (run by brother and sister Johannes and Lisa Benjamenta) to learn to become a servant. With seven other men, he studies under Lisa: absurd lessons ... See full summary »
A man closes up a lecture hall; he reaches into a box and snips the string holding a gaunt puppet. Released, the puppet warily explores the darkened rooms about him. Screws twist out of ... See full summary »
A woman sits alone on a chair at a table in a room on one of the top floors of an asylum. Bright spot lights dot the night, sometimes shining on her window. She sharpens pencils and writes ... See full summary »
A documentary on the subject of the collections of books, instruments and medical anomalies at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mutter Museum housed there. This short film ... See full summary »
Loosely based on the Mesopotamian "Epic of Gilgamesh", here Gilgamesh is portrayed as a grotesque, Picasso-esque being who uses a tricycle to patrol his box-shaped kingdom that hovers above a dark abyss.
A magnet moves on a floor. A moth beats against a window. A doll child watches the magnet; threads of metal filings gather around the magnet. The doll, who's sitting at a table, looks in a ... See full summary »
An enigmatic story told in seven chapters, each introduced by an elliptical sentence on a title card. A man is in an apartment. He goes outside where a red tram runs beside a cathedral. He ... See full summary »
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
I liked Institute Benjamenta, but this really is a bore
The Brothers Quay are directors, judging by conventional thought, should have stuck to making short films. I myself actually really liked their first feature, Institute Benjamenta, but judging by their sophomore effort, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, I'm willing to agree they don't come close to equaling their past genius at feature length. Piano Tuner is, without a doubt, a gorgeous film to look at, and often to listen to. Unfortunately, it's borderline painful to sit through with its convoluted narrative and glacial pace. Reading the plot synopsis, it sounds like a pretty good story. But the Brothers fail miserably to bring it to life. One thing they should consider avoiding completely in the future: dialogue. My God, it's awful here. A huge bust.
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