“The piano tuner of earthquakes” – (2005, Germany/United Kingdom/France)
“Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [director], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream”.
This quote from Ingmar Bergman about Andrei Tarkovksy applies to few directors, whose films are like echoes which never fade, feeling of déjà vu from things you’ve never seen.
Can there be a more “controlled” medium than animation, I don’t know. But this may be the most interesting dichotomy (or seeming contradiction) about the Quay brothers, in that they will show you elaborate images for your imagination to use as canvass and subject.
They seem to shy away from the notion of script, well maybe not shy away, so much as discard. I think they see scripting as restrictive to the creative process of story telling: the characters as well as the decors are enabled to follow their own rhythm and narration.
This, of course, is how most of us dream.
The Quay brothers’ second film, as their shorts and previous feature, is not easily described. They themselves appear like 18th century automatons, speaking in the halting way of people born into a world of opinions, hostile to developing ideas.
Their literary, visual and musical references are just this side off mainstream, not obscure so much as… Uncommon yet surprisingly attainable, and are woven in loose tapestries which invite you to pull whichever string twitches tantalizingly, following yet another rabbit hole of sorts: the décor itself is an actor.
“The piano tuner of earthquakes” would I think appeal to anyone who truly enjoyed Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast”, Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”, Tim Burton’s “nightmare before Christmas” or Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”.
To try and outline a synopsis, or post pictures or a trailer, in the case their movies would be restrictive and so I do not. Instead I would simply tell you that if you have read this far, you will likely want to continue this dialogue by watching the Quay brothers’ oeuvre.
“The piano tuner of earthquakes”… Such a title, and it is just the beginning.
This movie gets the five beans