Stop-motion animators the Brothers Quay
have created a remarkable body of work that evokes the hermetic worlds of Kafka and Bruno Schulz, while still creating something wholly original and undeniably beautiful. Entering the world of the Quays is akin to discovering a thirteenth month, or what Schulz called "the white space on the map"; here the normal rules of sentience no longer apply, and magic and imagination run rampant. In The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes
, the brothers' second feature-length film, they combine live actors with their mysterious puppets and palimpsest landscapes, allowing the two worlds to bleed into each other. Opera singer Malvina (Amira Casar) is killed onstage, then abducted by Dr. Droz (Gottfried John); he reanimates her so that she can star in his own diabolical opera. Dr. Drozs musical automatons must be serviced first, and so the piano tuner, Felisberto (Cesar Sarachu), is summoned to recalibrate their mechanisms. Made aware of Malvinas fate, Felisberto determines to save her -- but to succeed, he must overcome the powerful doctor and his phantasmagoric other world. The Webster Film Series presents The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes
at the Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-968-7487) at 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday (April 26 through 29). Following the feature, a selection of the Quays amazing short films are screened; this is a singular opportunity to enjoy such micro-epics as The Street of Crocodiles
and the Stille Nacht
series on the big screen, not your little cube of a television. Check out www.webster.edu/filmseries
for the schedule; tickets are $5 to $6 each evening.