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Expanding the Frame and Tuning Earthquakes

Posted at 9:45 AM on January 18, 2007 by Euan Kerr

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis launches its "Expanding the Frame" series this weekend, a six week long event which aims to highlight directors who are challenging the boundaries of film and video.

The event opens with "The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes," an off-kilter tale by the US-born, UK based, Quay Brothers. For 25 years the identical twins from Philadelphia have been using stop action animation to make eerie dream-like films which are both beautiful and borderline impenetrable.

Their best known work is probably the "Sledgehammer" video created for Peter Gabriel.

"Piano Tuner" is only their second feature film with actors, and a strange tale it is too. A piano tuner goes to the remote lair of an eccentric doctor to find there are no pianos there but machines which animate puppets playing out strange little plays. These are what the doctor needs tuned. The tuner discovers he is not the only guest. The doctor has abducted an opera singer who he claims is a patient, but may be central to his plan to make the world recognize his own frustrated musical talent.

This is not a film to watch for a story however, it's more of an experience. It's the imagery which draws you in more than the plot. As a result it's not for everyone. But maybe that's just part of challenging boundaries.

January 2007
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