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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
Near an extraordinary chair with many legs, a hand is visible gripping an edge. The hand is weathered, the fingers cracked and scarred. The end of a rifle appears and a shot fires. The ... 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
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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