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Film Info
  • Year: 2005
  • Film Format: 35mm
  • Origin: UK/Germany/France
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Runtime: 99 mins
  • Color and B&W
  • Sound Format: Dolby SRD
  • Language: English

THE PIANO TUNER OF EARTHQUAKES is the breathtakingly beautiful and long-awaited second feature from the Quay Brothers. On the eve of her wedding, the beautiful opera singer Malvina is mysteriously killed and abducted by a malevolent Dr. Droz. Felisberto, an innocent piano tuner, is summoned to Droz’s secluded villa to service his strange musical automatons. Little by little Felisberto learns of the doctor’s plans to stage a “diabolical opera” and of Malvina’s fate. He secretly conspires to rescue her, only to become trapped himself in the web of Droz’s perverse universe...

Starring Amira Casar (Catherine Breillat’s ANATOMY OF HELL), Assumpta Serna (Pedro Almodovar’s MATADOR), Cesar Sarachu (INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA) and Gottfried John (Fassbinder’s MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN).

Quay Brothers

“Masters above all of an unusually entrancing form of stop motion animation... Fraught with unresolved dreamlike narratives and psychosexual tensions, these works draw on the Surreal, the Gothic and the Victorian and also reflect the Quays’ deep attachment to the literature, graphic arts, animation and music of Eastern Europe, which they have cultivated since their art school days” – Roberta Smith, The New York Times. 

The extraordinary Quay Brothers are two of the world’s most original filmmakers. Identical twins who were born in Pennsylvania in 1947, Stephen and Timothy Quay studied illustration in Philadelphia before going on to the Royal College of Art in London, where they started to make animated shorts in the 1970s. They have lived in London ever since, making their unique and innovative films under the aegis of Koninck Studios.

Influenced by a tradition of Eastern European animation, the Quays display a passion for detail, a breathtaking command of color and texture, and an uncanny use of focus and camera movement that make their films unique and instantly recognizable. Best known for their classic 1986 film STREET OF CROCODILES, which filmmaker Terry Gilliam selected as one of the ten best animated films of all time, they are masters of miniaturization and on their tiny sets have created an unforgettable world, suggestive of a landscape of long-repressed childhood dreams. In 1994, with INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA, they made their first foray into live-action feature-length filmmaking.

The Quays have also directed pop promos for His Name is Alive, Michael Penn, Sparklehorse, 16 Horsepower, and Peter Gabriel (contributing to his celebrated “Sledgehammer” video), and have also directed ground-breaking commercials for, among others, MTV, Nikon, Murphy’s beer and Slurpee.

The Quays’ work also includes set design for theatre and opera. In 1998 their Tony-nominated set designs for Ionesco’s The Chairs won great acclaim on Broadway.

In 2000 they made IN ABSENTIA, an award-winning collaboration with Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as two dance films, DUET and THE SANDMAN. In 2002 they contributed an animated dream sequence to Julie Taymor’s film FRIDA.

In 2003 the Quays made four short films in collaboration with composer Steve Martland for a live event at the Tate Modern in London and in 2005 premiered their second feature film, THE PIANO TUNER OF EARTHQUAKES, at the Locarno Film Festival.

In 2012 the Quay Brothers were honored with a career retrospective gallery exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“To enter the impossible, haunted night of a Quay Brothers film is to become complicit in one of the most perverse and obsessive acts of cinema.” – Michael Atkinson, Film Comment. 

“The twins work almost entirely by themselves: one positions the puppets, the other holds the camera. It would seem monkish if the results weren’t so often charming, sexy and just deeply odd.” – Jesse Doris, Time.

These astonishing artists, working in an unlikely form, awaken our senses. They combine a demiurgic, Caligari-like mastery over their creations with the gentle dream archeology of Joseph Cornell: their puppets look less like things invented than like things discovered.” – Terrence Rafferty, The New Yorker

Malvina van Stille Amira Casar
Dr. Emmanuel Droz Gottfried John
Assumpta Assumpta Serna
Felisberto / Adolfo Cesar Sarachu

Gardener Holz Ljubisa Lupo-Grujcic
Gardener Marc Marc Bischoff
Gardener Henning Henning Peker
Gardener Echeverria Gilles Gavois
Gardener Volker Volker Zack
Gardener Thomas Thomas Schmieder

Directors Quay Brothers
Producers Keith Griffiths, Alexander Ris,
Hengameh Panahi
Production companies Koninck Studios PTE, Mediopolis Film- und Fernsehproduktion, Lumen Films
Co-Production companies ARTE France Cinéma
In Association with Drefa Media Holding GmbH
Filmförderung Hamburg GmbH
Ingenious Films Ltd.
Media i2i
Tohokushinsha Film Corporation
VCC Perfect Pictures

Executive Producer Terry Gilliam
Executive Producer for UK Film Council Paul Trijbits
Senior Executive for the New Cinema Fund Emma Clarke
Co-Producers for Mediopolis Alexander Ris & Jörg Rothe
Associate Producer for MCA Michael Becker
for ARTE France Cinema Michel Reilhac & Rémi Burah
for ZDF/ARTE Meinolf Zurhorst & Eva Kammerer
Line Producer Björn Eggert
Scenario Alan Passes & Quay Brothers
Costume Designer Kandis Cook
Editor Simon Laurie
Director of Photography Nic Knowland BSC
Music Trevor Duncan & Christopher Slaski
Director of Sound Larry Sider
Direction Design Animation Quay Brothers
Art Director Eric Veenstra

Institutional DVD Purchase

  • $249 with PPR
  • $349 with PPR and 3-Year Digital Site License
  • $499 with PPR and Digital Site License Good for Life of Originally Encoded File

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