Resurrect Dead

Author: Lisa Marie Patzer

I recently attended the Philadelphia premiere of Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles at the International House.  I knew very little about the film but was curious to learn more about the odd tiles I had seen scattered throughout the streets of Philadelphia. Here is one located at 43rd and Chester:

Resurrect Dead, a documentary film directed by Jon Foy, follows Justin Duerr a Philadelphia-based artist, on his journey to find the source of the Toynbee Tiles.  Hundreds of these cryptic messages have been found embedded in the streets of major cities across the U.S. and South American and Justin has taken a photo of nearly every one.  The tiles contain some variation on the following inscription:


I would classify the film is a hybrid doc-fiction that attempts to de-code the meaning behind the tiles as well as uncover the identity of the creator.  I will resist including any “spoilers” here, but I will say I was impressed by the film and the audience support.  The attendance at the International House was so overwhelming they added a 5th screening to the program.  

Kendall Whitehouse with the Wharton School at UPenn has a great  photo album of a Q&A session with Jon Foy.

In order to promote the film, the producers of Resurrect Dead gave the audience stickers that look like the Toynbee Tiles.  I have seen several pasted in public places throughout the city.

This Philadelphia based film is receiving a lot of buzz, both locally and nationally.  It has moved on to Chicago, but I am sure it will be back.  For more information, see the official website.


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Filed under Campus Life, Film, Lisa Marie Patzer, Philadelphia, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Uncategorized

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