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The Piano Tuner of EarthQuakes

The Quay Brothers
Germany, UK, France 2005 / 99’

The film was originally planned as an adaptation of Adolfo Bioy Casares’s novel The Invention of Morel. Having been refused the rights to the adaptation, the Quays composed the screenplay based on Locus Solus by Raymond Roussel, Carpathian Castle by Jules Verne and L'Ève future by Auguste Villiers de L’Isle-Adam. The demonic doctor Droz (who shares the name with the 18th-century watchmaker and constructor of human automats, Pierre Jaquet-Droz) kidnaps the opera singer Malvina. Some time later, he invites the piano tuner Felisberto to his island to tune seven automat designed by Droz. There, Felisberto meets Malvina, whom he tries to save. The main aesthetic inspirations of The Piano Tuner were Isle of the Dead (1880) by Arnold Böcklin and Empire of Light by René Magritte (1953–54). The film’s executive producer was Terry Gilliam. “Like a true auteur, the brothers consistently return to similar themes, similar narratives and to similar techniques, with each film not necessarily being different from but an extension of their primal narrative. For the Quays that primal narrative is tragedy, a failed attempt to escape from beautifully sinister and arcane mechanisms” – James Rose wrote.


Jakub Mikurda

Bracia Quay

Twins, born in 1947. They studied in Philadelphia and continued their education at the Royal College of Art in London, where in the 1970s they directed their first short films. In the 1980s, they made commercials (for Honeywell, Walkers Crisps, and Dulux Wood Protection), music videos (the most famous one - for Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer), and animations which made them popular – The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer, Street of Crocodiles. In 1995, their first feature film premiered: Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream That One Calls Human Life, winner of the Bronze Horse in Stockholm and the jury’s award at the Fantasporto festival. Another full-length live acting film by the brothers is The PianoTuner of EarthQuakes. Their art is inspired by literature, especially by prose by Bruno Schulz and lately - Stanisław Lem.

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