Wayang 8 Kupang

A part of Olé Cuppa Art : The Project Upstairs

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes - film review from Time Out London

The all-too-long-awaited follow-up to the Quays’ wonderful first feature (‘Institute Benjamenta’) is as imaginative, eccentric and visually seductive as one expects from these seasoned explorers of the uncanny. Great expertise is again evident in the blending of live action and puppet animation in the tale of Malvina (Amira Casar), a beautiful opera singer abducted during a performance by the sinister Dr Droz (Gottfried John). The mad inventor whisks her away from her lover, subjecting her to a life of mournful seclusion on a remote tropical island that is his home and kingdom, whither Felisberto (Cesar Sarachu), a piano tuner, is meanwhile summoned to repair seven automata… In other words, the film’s a weird fairy tale, a Gothic fable of obsessive desire, magical prowess and bizarre coincidence that owes at least as much to painting, literature, music and myth as to cinema. (In fact, save for Borowczyk and a handful of horror movies, it’s hard to divine much common ground between this and most cinema likely to screen these days.) The pace, in keeping with the feverish, dreamlike hothouse isle on which the delectable damsel’s kept against her (lack of) will, perhaps tends a little too much towards the languid, and Sarachu’s performance comes over as clumsy; Assumpta Serna as Droz’s devotee also seems slightly adrift, so only Casar and John have the full measure of the piece. Still, no one expects conventional pleasures from the Quays, and for those who like their movies different, ambitious and luscious to look at (Nic Knowland’s ’Scope camerawork is extraordinary), there’s much here to enjoy.


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