The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (2006)



Critic Consensus: Though visually stunning and brilliantly original, the film fails to resonate emotionally.

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Movie Info

The Brothers Quay return for their first film in a decade with this live-action story of an 19th-century opera singer who is murdered on-stage shortly before her upcoming wedding. Soon after being slain by the nefarious Dr. Emmanuel Droz (Gottfried John) during a live performance, Malvina van Stille (Amira Casar) is spirited away to the inventor's remote villa to be reanimated and forced to play the lead in a grim production staged to recreate her abduction. As the time for the performance draws near, piano tuner of earthquakes Felisberto (Cesar Sarachu) sets out to activate the seven essential automatons who dot the dreaded doctor's landscape and make sure all the essential elements are in place. Once again instilled with life after her brief stay in the afterworld, amnesiac Malvina is soon drawn to the mysterious Felisberto as a result of his uncanny resemblance to her one-time fiancé Adolfo (also Sarachu). ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Critic Reviews for The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (16)

What the movie lacks in acting and coherence, it more than makes up for through imagery.

Full Review… | March 2, 2007
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

It's a hauntingly effective, poetic mood piece but an exasperating drama.

January 19, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

It is a bold step into a mainstream realm for its ancient fablelike theme, agile storytelling, magnificent design and sure grasp of long-form narrative structure.

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

This opaque tale offers meticulously crafted atmosphere, but rather less passion or drama.

Full Review… | January 5, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

As in most of the Quays' fantasias, the narrative is oblique and slow moving but the florid visuals are rife with sexual and psychological overtones.

Full Review… | January 5, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The whole movie feels filmed through the wrong end of a stereopticon: stiff, fascinating, riddled with secrets it doesn't care to divulge.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes


A surreal and moody film, full of strange images, and with an even stranger denouement. It is visually impressive, in a dark and low key way rather than a colorful one. The story is a weird tale to be sure and can be maddeningly opaque or ambiguous. Not a film for everyone. Not even for most film buffs. But it did have its appeal and I was not disappointed by it.

David Duncan
David Duncan

I viewed The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes twice at the Philadephia Film Festival, and multiple times on DVD since. A marvelously creative movie with fine acting, dazzling visuals and haunting score. There's fantastic detail work here by the fabulously creative Brothers Quay, originally from Philadelphia but now thoroughly 'European'. It must have taken years to make it. Does the plot make sense? Yes. There's a good one paragraph synopsis [not by me] at The central character is the mysterious Dr. Droz perfectly played by Gottfried John. He has an estate set on his own surreal island, apparently just off the coast of Iberia. Droz is among other things an 'alienist' (the closest thing to a psychiatrist, circa 1870), with the powers of a mesmerist. He has enslaved some of his former patients for use as servants. Droz is also a genius at inventing mechanical automata. Perhaps he has even mastered the art of capturing a person's soul to install in one of his machines... Thankfully from this reviewer's point of view, Droz is also a horn-dog, and our filmmakers aren't shy about exposing the charms of the two lovely female principals, played by Amira Casar and Asumpte Serna.

Hal Morris
Hal Morris

the only reason for the high rating is because this film is visually stunning. the story was confusing to me and didn't make sense.

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