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 very free adaptation of Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus', Goethe's 'Faust' and various other treatments of the old legend of the man who sold his soul to the devil. Svankmajer's Faust is a ... See full summary »
Six outwardly average individuals have elaborate fetishes they indulge with surreptitious care. A mousy letter carrier makes dough balls she grotesquely ingests before bed. A shop clerk ... See full summary »
A man takes up residence with a mysterious marquis and is soon persuaded to enter into an asylum for preventative therapy. Things are not what they seem, and the marquis may be even more sinister than what the young man may've predicted.
A man sees his life changed for ever when his fiancee shoots herself. Baffled, he wants by all means to obtain such a weapon of destruction and he finds himself caught in a violent group of... See full summary »
In Prague, a professorial puppet, with metal pincers for hands and an open book for a hat, takes a boy as a pupil. First, the professor empties fluff and toys from the child's head, leaving... 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 don't know that I buy the plot, but entrancing nonetheless
The credits rolled and I sat staring, the afterimage of a burning white face and bench buried in the snow still resonating in my eyes. I was sure if I was blown away, confused, enraged or all three. The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes is riddled with problems: the unnecessarily overbearing voice-over exposition during the first forty minutes, the thin plot lines in the opening five minutes. The Quay Brothers seem to not be entirely sure what this film is about, I don't get the sense that there was a mastermind behind this warped world, like I do while watching Mulholland Drive.
That said, it is a very interesting film and, if for no other reason, this is a film that should be seen for being one of the most beautifully shot films of the last five years. The dried color palette, the hazy, dream-like quality of the main character's POV and the stop motion animation all combine to create a film rich in texture and beauty. It seems that The Brothers Quay, though maybe not the most talented of writers (this, I believe being only their second feature length as compared to stacks of rich short films), they are certainly masters of the medium visually. It's an intense, droning, paced film. It's slow and garbled. But it's beautiful.
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