Friday, December 06, 2013

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, A Film by Jon Foy

Image that you are walking in a city, such as Philadelphia, Chicago, or New York. You have to cross a street. In doing so, you notice what appears to be a plaque imbedded in the street. Do you read it? If it made no sense to you, would you even think about it later?

Young high school dropout/document courier/artist Justin Duerr and his friends in Philadelphia began noticing strange tiles in the streets in the 1990s. The recurring message intrigued them.
Toynbee Idea
In Movie '2001
Resurrect Dead
On Planet Jupiter 
What was that about? They had to know and started an investigation, culminating in the documentary Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles.

Ten of us gathered at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library on a Friday night this fall to view and discuss the 2011 documentary, which Roger Ebert had included in his best documentaries list for that year. We have seen many unusual films in our over ten years of meeting, and Resurrect the Dead scored high on our weird scale. (I wish we really had a formal weird scale so I could report the score.)

We were captivated by the unrelenting efforts of Duerr and his friends Steve Weinik and Colin Smith to discover 1) who was making and laying the Toynbee tiles, 2) what they meant, and 3) where were all of the tiles. The third question was the easiest to answer, as people from Boston to Kansas City had noticed tiles and shared their pictures on the Internet. A large concentration were in Philadelphia. A small scattering of tiles had also been discovered in South America, one of which included a Philadelphia street address. Much of the film shows the researchers trying to answer questions one and two.

Our group of film fans was riveted to the screen, eager to learn the research teams latest discoveries. Look for the documentary at your library or request it through interlibrary loan.

Foy, Jon. Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. E1 Entertainment, 2012. ISBN 9781417235858.

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