The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (2005) Movie Script

She's dead.
Holz! Echeverria!
Adolfo's... by the door.
Darling, I promise. Come.
Darling, how was I?
- Sublime.
- Really? Oh, kiss me!
Guess who, Madame?
It has to be him again.
"'Divine one. Ever more tightly
around our two souls
draws the thread
between your voice and my ear."'
"'Yours eternally, Emmanuel Droz."'
- You know what to do.
- Yes. The same as all the others.
He could at least change his florist.
Oh, darling, why worry about it?
I don't even know who the man is.
- Inside or outside?
- Oh! Oh, inside!
Take me!
Ritorno subito.
Ti juro.
'You will sing forever... my cage.'
Don't move!
She's dead.
Holz! Echeverria!
She will never sing...
to your music again.
'My beautiful Lazarus.'
'I've come to lift the stone.'
'To raise your voice.'
Malvina... everything's ready.
All that remains to be addressed... the tuning.
'I'd received a letter. It was signed
"Doctor Emmanuel Droz".'
"'Dear Mr. Fernandez, I wish to obtain
your services most urgently."'
"'I assure you that the work
will be professionally stimulating
and worthy of your skills."'
'He promised me that one of his men
would meet me at the station.'
'As I looked around me, it felt
as though I'd been here before.'
'But when and how I cannot say.'
Emmanuel... the piano tuner is here.
So, how many pianos
does Doctor Droz have?
Pianos? There are no pianos here.
But I'm sure the Doctor will give you
his instructions himself tomorrow.
These are your quarters.
Look. Here we are.
There you are... and here I am.
And over there... are the gardeners.
And here now is the Doctor...
approaching to welcome you
to Villa Azucena.
Don Felisberto Fernandez...
...the Piano Tuner of Earthquakes.
It's unlocked.
'So, no pianos to tune.'
'Has the Doctor brought me here
under false pretences? '
'And that fresco.'
'Was it me stepping
into a painting already painted? '
'The next morning,
Assumpta the housekeeper
escorted me to meet Doctor Droz.'
Mr. Fernandez,
do you believe in dreams?
Yes, I do.
Someone once told me
that certain signs in dreams
could no more explain a dream
than the postman's knock could
explain what's... what's in a letter.
I suppose that would certainly depend
on how hard the postman knocked.
And for how long.
I had a dream last night,
Mr. Fernandez, and it was of you.
I dreamt dogs were chasing me
through the estate.
We ran and ran down rows of trees.
The more I ran,
the more excited the dogs became.
Their noses were at my heels.
And suddenly I stopped.
But the dogs all ran past
and nothing happened.
I... I was...
totally devastated.
Then I looked behind me...
and you were standing there...
...completely rigid.
Asleep... with a handkerchief
in your mouth.
And you were trying
to shout something,
but only saliva dribbled out.
What I'd like to know is, why did you
have a handkerchief in your mouth?
Oh, well.
Why would anyone sleep with
a handkerchief in their mouth anyway?
Look, here we are.
And here's Doctor Droz.
The piano tuner.
And here the last of the replies
to your invitation.
They have all accepted.
- Oh, excellent. Excellent.
- Doctor.
Doctor. Doctor.
Echeverria's gone missing.
L-L-Later, Holz, er... later.
Fernandez Felisberto at...
'The Doctor then led me
to the first automaton.'
Feel that.
All my automata
function by hydraulics.
Then, you're not blind?
No, I'm not blind.
But, I assure you, Doctor,
my touch, my ear,
are no less sensitive
for my being sighted.
And, as I understand it now,
you didn't bring me here
for your pianos, anyway.
Mr. Felisberto,
since there are no pianos to tune,
I've given you automata instead.
In these machines...
...Mr. Felisberto... contained the Dream.
That of music.
The most rational irrationality
of all.
Of which I, Droz... am the heart.
Sheer artifice, Mr. Felisberto.
And all this...
dependent upon nature.
'The Doctor told me that
there are seven automata in total.'
'And that there was
very little time left... '
Before the final performance.
- Final performance?
- Unique.
Timed for a very special hour.
And... with very special guests.
I'm sure you will understand
the urgency of my request.
'So I was to work on automata,
not pianos.'
'I accepted the challenge.'
Mr. Felisberto, bear in mind...
'He explained to me
that they were not toys,
but delicate
and precious instruments.'
'And that I was to pay
special attention
to their musical
and sound qualities.'
'He then presented me
with a set of special tools.'
I bid you good day.
I'll find you!
Is that you?
Lost, piano tuner?
Smell the gums of conifers.
Shut your eyes... and listen.
Which is the true forest,
Mr. Fernandez?
This one?
Or that one?
The last one.
How flattering, Mr. Fernandez.
Yes. I...
"The forest inside the forest."
I was certain you'd lose your way.
Not while my senses
are being so well explored.
Who is Doctor Droz?
- Who is Doctor Droz?
- Yes.
He's a forest no one can inhabit.
Oh, that's, er... that's not
what you meant, is it?
Doctor Droz
is what they call an alienist...
a healer of broken minds.
And as the Doctor himself puts it,
a man of science
whose great passion is music.
But that's the official version.
And the unofficial?
I'm his living writing paper.
And this place?
It's an asylum.
Or rather a sanctuary,
for those who have undergone
the most fatal of traumas.
Those people you saw earlier,
we call them the gardeners.
But they are patients here,
who, thanks to Doctor Droz,
have been given back to themselves.
Oh, don't look so serious,
Mr. Fernandez.
After a while,
you get used to the confusion.
'On my way back from the first
automaton, I spied through the trees,
high up on the hillside,
what appeared to be
the ruins of a baroque grotto.'
Am I disturbing you, Mr. Felisberto?
It's real, isn't it?
Do you think it was planned?
1755. It was the earthquake
in Lisbon.
And the tremors
were felt as far as Salamanca.
How would you know such a thing,
Mr. Felisberto?
It's my only gift.
I can hear anything
between a sneeze and infinity.
No doubt you come
from a long line of piano tuners.
For three centuries, we Fernandezes
have never had children.
Then... how were you born?
Ah, Doctor... that's the secret
of our sainted mothers.
'It seemed the Doctor and I
had reached an understanding.'
So we have destiny to thank
for permitting us to be
what we will become to each other.
'End of my first day
at the Villa Azucena.'
'To my surprise, I have entirely
retuned the first automaton.'
'The Doctor was right when he
admitted that he failed to predict
the effects of the sea air
upon his machines.'
'And then, I was close to fainting
from repeatedly holding my breath
while I scraped
an almost microscopic mould
off the most intricate
flywheel imaginable.'
'The Doctor's constructs are almost
frightening in their subtlety.'
'The machine revealed
a little row of singing teeth
that miraculously
still retain their pitch.'
'It's true, they are not pianos,
but I'm certainly
enjoying the privilege
of working on
these mechanical marvels.'
'He said not to call them toys,
but I still cannot quite see
their purpose.'
And was that singing
I heard last night?
You play the black keys
and I'll sing the white.
I think of you... a powerful tree,
shivering in a stormy sky.
Very hard from the roots upwards,
which are plunged into
the quivering matter of life itself.
It rises, as if drawn
by the gulf of the heights.
And shudders, as the wind stirs
the leaves along its backbone... my fingernails mount
the tender furrows of your back...
...from the dampness of your thighs... the nape... of your neck.
'The next morning, as I was working
on the second automaton,
I'm thinking that I was
a little out of my depth.'
Here is the ormolu magnet
you asked for.
The Doctor told me to tell you
that under no account
were you to let the echoes slip
behind the vibrating plates.
And that you should
remove your thumb first.
And that you'd know
what he meant by that.
Was that singing I heard last night?
Maybe it was your teeth,
Mr. Fernandez.
Or maybe I was dreaming.
it was certainly beautiful.
There is a voice.
I saw her last night.
- Who is she?
- Oh, you mean the Emperor's Canary.
Madame van Stille. The singer.
- Do you know her?
- No.
Hmm. Well...
The Doctor says
she has had a severe trauma
and needs complete calm
and seclusion.
For my part, all I know
is that the Doctor is helping her
to readapt to the stage.
Forgive me, but how do you believe
he goes about such a thing?
- The Doctor's method for her?
- Hmm.
This I don't know.
But he does have an expert knowledge
of the electricity in women.
And, er... does this include you?
For me, the Doctor's passions
are like the rays of the sun
when they are caught
in a magnifying glass
and they immediately set fire
to whatever object
they find in their way.
And you? Did you catch fire?
Oh, yes.
But then the fire
eventually burns itself out and...
and you just learn how to smolder.
So, erm, no need for
the fire brigade, huh, Mr. Fernandez?
Enough. I should leave you...
with the Doctor's toys.
'I went looking for the Doctor
and found
his mysterious patient instead.'
Madame? Madame?
I'm sorry.
Madame, I didn't mean to disturb you.
It's me, Felisberto, the piano tuner.
It's beautiful here.
I wanted to tell you about myself.
I come from over there.
I must leave now.
Good morning. This part.
No rats get in, only... rust.
Have you ever heard of
Megaloponera foetens, Mr. Felisberto?
It's an ant that lives
in the Cameroonian rainforests.
A forager of the forest floor, which
from time to time becomes infected
through inhaling
the microscopic spore of a fungus
that rains down from the trees above
and lodges in its tiny brain...
where it starts to grow.
Troubled and disoriented, this ant
is driven to leave the forest floor
and starts to climb up
the stems of ferns and creepers
till it reaches some seemingly
pre-determined height.
At which point, it clamps
its mandibles onto the plant
and waits there...
...until it dies.
As for the fungus, it lives on,
eating the dead creature's brain
and infiltrating
its entire nervous system.
Until at length,
some few weeks later,
it excretes a sort of spike through
the remains of the insect's head.
And this rampant prong
teems with spores,
which, in their turn, shed themselves
onto the ground below,
raining down for the next
unsuspecting floor-foraging ant.
'Three days have passed already.'
'Nothing is as it seems.'
'The Doctor's insect story...
...that woman on the bench, Malvina,
calling out
for someone who isn't there,
yet singing so beautifully.'
'And the strange dreams
that come to me in the night.'
'Perhaps even these automata
are not what they pretend to be.'
Loitering with intent, piano tuner?
I wouldn't be if I had a shoelace.
You don't waste any time
getting under people's feet, do you?
Often, when I lace up my shoes,
I notice only afterwards
that my tongue,
which I'd assumed was inside,
is still hanging outside.
But then, you probably
weren't paying attention.
So, where do you think
my tongue is now?
Who loves me, follows me.
You're not being distracted,
are you, Mr. Felisberto?
No. No, no. On the contrary...
I'm totally absorbed.
It feels like I'm living
in someone else's imagination.
Has she shown you her tongue yet?
She is incorrigible, isn't she,
Mr. Felisberto?
So, I needn't ask...
...if we are on schedule?
You needn't, Doctor.
I thought as much.
Doctor Droz,
are you preparing another automaton?
In a manner of speaking, yes.
Is it an opera?
Let's just say
it's my own small contribution
to the operatic canon.
Then that would explain
the voice I've heard at night.
It is very special,
I believe, to you.
There's no country, no city,
no theatre, no recital,
I have not been to for that voice.
And now it's here.
There is where I hear it from.
What a beautiful soul it must take
to produce a voice like that.
Soul, Mr. Felisberto?
There's a big word.
How you compliment me.
My every instinct.
The fourth machine is awaiting you.
There's not much time.
Here. It's me, Felisberto,
the piano tuner.
Be quiet so I can hear.
All these lights,
these people, the guests.
Tomorrow we marry.
Everyone can hear it in my voice.
The Doctor, he...
I'm sure the Doctor
has your best interests at heart.
They say it's bad luck
to look at each other
on the eve of your wedding.
But that's just superstition.
No, his eyes...
The Doctor...
His eyes...
...following me, burning me.
I was singing and then...
and then I turned towards you.
Towards me?
And the walls slid away.
And then?
I'm neither in this world
nor the next.
Tell me... who I am.
Tell me if I'm me.
The singer.
I saw the piano tuner
with the singer...
...this afternoon, on the bench.
She called him Adolfo.
And did he answer?
Oh, he seemed to love it,
being called Adolfo.
Do you think
Adolfo's his middle name?
Don Felisberto Adolfo Fernandez.
Adolfo Carino.
- I wonder if he can sing.
- I think not.
Then he could whistle.
What might he whistle then?
he could whistle a tango.
With all that facial excreta
and ecstatic nose bleeds!
I think not.
But, er, maybe
there's a role for you, Assumpta.
Oh. I already have one.
I've always had one...
Of course.
The illustrious whore.
Whose garments are wiped clean
by the epileptic's saliva.
Oh, but we did, already,
that one, Emmanuel.
Last year.
You're forgetting.
Maybe your hammer is,
erm, needing... fresh leather?
'That night, the gardeners' shouts
led me to another automaton.'
'She looked at me, she saw me,
she spoke to me, she held my hand.'
'But she called me
someone else's name.'
'Is that why she's here? '
'Because this Adolfo abandoned her,
and then she tried
to take her own life? '
So everything's fodder for tangos,
huh, Mr. Felisberto?
Forgive me, Doctor, I've been here...
Mr. Felisberto, I must draw
your attention to the fact
that the woman
with whom you were seen
trying to engage in conversation
yesterday is a patient of mine.
The lady has suffered
a grave illness.
Her condition, shall we say,
might even be described as, er,
So, you will kindly desist
from importuning her any further.
- Importuning? That's the last...
- Have I made myself clear?
'Then, to my surprise,
the Doctor invited me
to play a small but special role
in his opera.'
'He explained
that it would be a reconstruction
of Madame van Stille's trauma,
and that only by using this therapy
could he ever hope to bring her back
to her more natural self.'
And what was her trauma,
if I may be so bold?
Oh, tragically...
...her fianc broke off
their relationship
the very day before
they were due to be married.
Of course I'd do anything
to help Madame Malvina,
but as I said, my voice is hopeless.
I can't sing.
You needn't.
You will whistle.
I am like certain feminine opera fans
who listen only with their clitoris.
Look closely
at that triangular muscle.
These vocal folds...
...made up from nerves,
blood vessels and membranes.
Then imagine Malvina's.
As delicate as ripening grapes.
A scent just waiting,
dreaming of succumbing
to pollutions of mist and fogs
upon the coolest slopes.
And this sublime prolonged weight
of her vocal cords
around my music,
slowly breaking
the cap of its skin...
...oozing swollen juices,
crushed and glistening vanillas.
clearly it's you
who's inhaled the spore
of Malvina's voice.'
Good. Once more.
How many times more?
Kiss me.
The Doctor rests every afternoon
from three to five.
Madame? Malvina?
- It's me, Felisberto.
- Piano tuner.
Do you... hear that?
The rocks.
I can hear them at night.
Where is Adolfo?
The dead love the most, love longest.
Adolfo's by the door.
Can you see him?
- Yes. There, by the door.
- Hmm.
And in it?
There's a window.
Yes, a window.
Round window
with a girl dropping confetti.
With a girl dropping confetti.
In this room.
'With a girl dropping confetti.'
- In this room.
- 'With a girl dropping confetti.'
- In this room.
- 'With a girl dropping confetti.'
What happened?
With a girl...
'I found steps
which led me beneath the stage.'
'Everything she spoke about
had been there.'
'The door, the orchids,
the round window.'
'Were they all part
of the Doctor's reconstruction
for the final performance? '
'I saw my face.'
'My reflection.'
'And then, for a second,
everything seemed to sag.'
But that's my whistle in there.
See, my little floor-foraging ant?
Didn't I tell you?
Here. I'll give you a hand.
Well, Doctor, your machine,
it swallowed my whistle.
And somehow,
my reflection.
Did you not think me capable?
But I might...
But I might need it.
'Real illnesses here
are absolutely essential
for the imagination.'
'Higher still.'
'Back. Back.'
'Yes. And around.'
'Yesterday afternoon,
I saw two suns.'
'And my watch has stopped.'
'Higher still.'
'It clamps its mandibles
onto the plant
and waits there until it dies.'
'As for the fungus, it lives on.'
'In older kingdoms, they used
to put out the eyes of birds
to make them sing better.'
'But here is the king,
Droz, who is telling the stories.'
'One every day for six days.'
'The seventh story,
the seventh automaton,
will surely surely spell the end.'
'No... '
'No, he can't get away with it.'
'He mustn't! He's the evil one! '
'He's the one who must perish!
Not the innocent princess! '
'Not the innocent princess! '
I know what has to be done.
It's the door.
The carriage.
I must have left the carriage
while I was sleeping.
Malvina. Malvina!
Are you listening to me?
Act three.
You're burning.
I love you.
Feel me...
You shouldn't be here!
The Doctor is coming.
Has she remembered your name yet?
'Droz is laughing at me.'
If all the automata here
depend on my power to tune them,
then it is also in my power
to mistune them.
Droz is making me guess
all the correct alignments.
Yesterday, a calendar told me
there will be an eclipse tomorrow.
Its trajectory will flood along
this path straight to the stage.
It's timed to coincide with
the opening of the door.
will you share a drink with me?
Poisoned chalice, Emmanuel?
on the back of the tongue.
Verging... towards leather.
And even violets.
Or violence.
Why not?
The door.
'And the tremors... '
'... were felt as far as Salamanca.'
Felisberto Fernandez,
Piano Tuner of Earthquakes.
Then you've chosen
to leave me to sadness.
To an even lesser role.
The future.
'Assumpta, listen carefully.'
'Soon, very soon,
Villa Azucena
will have become little more
than a memory.'
It will accumulate its infinity,
here, just behind your eyes.
By who else, Emmanuel?
By who else, if not by you?
'I will, at last,
revenge the stench
of waving handkerchiefs
at the opera houses
that have denied my music.'
She's dead.
Holz, Echeverria!
I can hear them at night.
Sing, Malvina!
Malvina, it's me.
Adolfo's by the door.
Assumpta, soon Villa Azucena
will have become
little more than a memory.
'I never saved Malvina.'
'I never made it
past the sixth automaton.'
'Didn't Droz tell me
he was capable of such a thing? '
'And my love for Malvina,
was this only an illusion? '
'These thoughts preserve me now,
here, inside the sixth automaton,
where I dream mechanically
with the tides amongst the rocks,
where they can never separate us.'
The dead love the most,
love the longest.