Piano Teacher

Piano Teacher

3.0 1
Director: Michael Haneke

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, Benoît Magimel

     
 

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How far is a man willing to go to be with the woman he wants? Erika (Isabelle Huppert) is a veteran piano instructor at a famous music conservatory in Vienna. Erika is highly respected for her remarkable talent and strong discipline, but she's also known to be a harsh taskmistress and does not suffer fools gladly; among her students, Erika's class is considered a… See more details below

Overview

How far is a man willing to go to be with the woman he wants? Erika (Isabelle Huppert) is a veteran piano instructor at a famous music conservatory in Vienna. Erika is highly respected for her remarkable talent and strong discipline, but she's also known to be a harsh taskmistress and does not suffer fools gladly; among her students, Erika's class is considered a highly rewarding challenge, but difficult to weather. Erika seems to get her stern and unforgiving nature from her mother (Annie Girardot), with whom she still lives, and without a husband or a lover, Erika satisfies her strong but frequently perverse sexual appetites through extreme porn videos, voyeurism, and masturbatory practices that sometimes involve pain and self-mutilation. Erika discovers she has attracted the attentions of one of her students, Walter (Benoit Maginel), a gifted and good-looking young man who does not seem at all put off by her icy personality. She refuses to acknowledge Walter's romantic overtures, but when he rises to the defense of a fellow student after a recital, Erika is enraged, and Walter pursues her, finally following her as she storms off to the women's room. Erika abruptly approaches Walter in a rough sexual fashion, but refuses to fully satisfy him until he is willing to allow her to control the relationship. When Walter becomes aware of just how much pain and humiliation is involved in Erika's erotic bill of fare, he refuses to participate, but in time his attraction to her causes him to weaken, and he begins to accede to her sexual demands. La Pianiste was shown in competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, where Isabelle Huppert and Benoit Maginel were named Best Actress and Best Actor, and writer/director Michael Haneke received the Jury's Grand Prize.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
Based on the novel by Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek and directed by German torture-meister Michael Haneke, the psycho-drama The Piano Teacher is sure to be a shocking experience for audiences expecting the usual light touches and sensuality of French cinema. This bleak story is spoken in French, but takes place in Vienna, Austria, the home to both Sigmund Freud and Franz Schubert. Incorporating themes from both masters of psychology and composition, respectively, the film effectively links the harsh cruelties of classical music scholarship with an increasingly disturbing mother/daughter relationship. From the first scene, it is apparent that the Mother (Annie Girardot) has caused her daughter a lifetime of suffering and sacrifice in the name of musical perfection, thus breaking her spirit indefinitely. The film works best as a frustrating character study of the daughter, Professor Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert), who exhibits a coldness and insensitivity that is affirmed through her repressed sexual deviancy. The ugly scenes with cocky student Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel) are charged with intense conflict as the aggressively handsome young man tries to pursue his frigid master teacher. The momentum is changed after the climactic moment between mother and daughter, where the narrative seems to only confirm Erika's madness. An interesting intellectual pondering on the nature of sexual repression, The Piano Teacher is a frightening portrait of a broken woman.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
1/2
There is an old saying: Be careful what you ask for, because you might get it. The Piano Teacher has a more ominous lesson: Be especially careful with someone who has asked for you.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/24/2003
UPC:
0738329041632
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
R
Source:
Kino Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Isabelle Huppert Erica Kohut
Annie Girardot The Mother
Benoît Magimel Walter Klemmer
Susanne Lothar Mrs. Schober
Udo Samel Dr. Blonskij

Technical Credits
Michael Haneke Director,Screenwriter
Christian Berger Cinematographer
Yvon Crenn Executive Producer
Christine Gozlan Executive Producer
Veit Heiduschka Producer
Christoph Kanter Production Designer
Michael Katz Executive Producer
Michael Katz Executive Producer
Jean-Pierre Laforce Sound/Sound Designer
Guillaume Sciama Sound/Sound Designer
Monika Willi Editor

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