Release Date: November 17th, 2006 (Cinema Village) by Zeitgeist Films.
The Cast: Amira Casar, Gottfried John, Assumpta Serna, César Saracho.
Directed by Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay.
In English and Portuguese with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Dr. Emmanuel Droz (John) hires a piano tuner of earthquakes, Felisberto (Saracho), as part of his secret plans to stage a “diabolical opera” with Malvina (Casar), an opera singer he raises from the dead.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The title of this film alone should signal to you that what you’re about to watch is far from an ordinary film. In the opening scenes, Dr.Droz kidnaps the beautiful Malvina from the opera and murders her. Now, he wants to restage the opera while bringing her back from the dead. The thin narrative follows Felisberto as he visits Dr.Droz’s strange abode and slowly uncovers Dr. Droz’s evil plan and tries to save Malvina. If you’re familiar with Guy Maddin films such as The Saddest Music in the World, Cowards Bend the Knee, or Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary, it’ll be easy to get used to the low-budget special effects, washed out colors and intentionally bizarre cinematography. For example, during a scene when Felisberto speaks to Dr.Droz outside, co-writers/directors Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay film from the other side of a window which drowns out their voices. In a grim animated sequence, a wooden puppet hits itself in the leg with an ax over and over. Fortunately, unlike Terry Gilliam’s last mindf*ck, Tideland, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes doesn’t descent into complete incoherence and nauseating madness. If you marvel at its cheap yet amazing visuals while paying close attention to the weird yet imaginative details of its plot and manage to forgive the wooden acting, you’ll consider yourself entertained by this film. That may sound like a tall order for some people, but for others who love basking in the sun of unconventionality, it’s well worth the ride.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desire.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: An unordinary film with extraordinary visuals. Delightfully bizarre and imaginative.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "P" Menu