The Piano Teacher (R-Rated Edition)
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Top Customer Reviews
Walking - or I should say staggering - out of the theater 2.5 hours later, I was humbled by the scope of Haneke's and Huppert's achievement. Rarely have I seen a film both so clear-eyed about sexual psychosis and yet so compassionate as well. Isabelle Huppert, who probably wasn't nominated for an Oscar only because the film can be so off-putting to some, gives what can only be described as an intense performance. Her clenched face and the darting movements of her eyes reveal more about her character - her inner rage, her self-hatred - than most actors can achieve with sheets and sheets of dialouge. That's the essence of the film, everything is very formally *controlled* - so that when violence, self-inflicted or otherwise, breaks out, it is startling because it emerges from such as civilized veneer.
If the point of the film were to demonstrate the High Culture spiritually deforms those who engage in it (and I don't think it does), the film would have minimal interest. High culture has been on the defensive so long, it doesn't need to be blamed for driving Isabelle Huppert nuts as well.Read more ›
Erika is unable to break the bonds that attach her to her mother. Instead, like a child who has never grown up, she wants to please her mother, but is driven to act out her own fantasies secretly. Her mother appears to be unaware of the deep seated repression that is consuming her daughter. What she does see is an angry, hateful person who lies to her and deceives her frequently.
Erika's sexual frustration takes the form of physical and pschological self-hate. She visits porn shops to degrade herself and she mutilates her body to distract her from the intense psychological pain she suffers constantly.
At school her anger takes the form of verbal abuse to her students who are unable to achieve the artistic integrity she demands. What appears to be an inflated sense of her own importance as an artist masks her frustration at being second-rate. She is not good enough to be recognized as an artist in her own right. Her hatred of herself and her inadequacy as an artist prompt her to strike out at students and colleagues alike.
Into her seething cauldron of despair comes a young engineering student, Walter Klemmer, wonderfully played by Benoit Maginel, who wants to study Schubert with her. At first she refuses him, but pressure by the school to accept him forces her to work with him.Read more ›
Isabelle Huppert's performance as the teacher is absolutely magnificent. There are a lot of close-ups of her unsmiling freckled face and dark opaque emotionless eyes. There is a vague reference to her father being in an insane asylum; other than that there is no back-story to help us understand her. Benoit Magimel, cast as her young suitor, has a difficult role as well. During the course of the film, we watch him change before our eyes. All the other characters are also well cast and give outstanding performances.
The director, Michael Haneke, kept the tension and erotic undercurrent strong throughout. There is a lot of classical music and scenes of recitals and piano lessons in a very rigid and upscale world. And then there are those scenes targeted to make the audience squirm in their seats. When all the elements are put together, the results are a film that will long haunt my memories.
The Piano Teacher is not for everyone. But for those adventurous few who are willing to experience the different and dramatic, don't miss it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A repressed, tightly controlled professor at a music conservatory (Isabelle Huppert) meets a self-confident young man (Benoit Magimel) who thinks that he is just the one to unlock... Read morePublished 8 months ago by David Bonesteel
While I appreciate independent foreign films, this was difficult for me to sit through. The pain this woman self-inflicts in so many ways while being a respected piano teacher is... Read morePublished 12 months ago by N. Lester
Great performance by Huppert but the end of the movie was abrupt and seemed forced.Published 17 months ago by Stephen G.
Art is art, what can I say! I love Isabelle Huppert and all her movies. She is a genius. But the movie was sad and depressing… almost typical of French movies, stereotypically... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Ibrahim
A great film! Very courageous project for Heneke to bring to the screen Huppert is nothing short of breathtaking in the tile role. Annie Giaradot as her mother..unforgettable. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Daniel G. Madigan
Another terrible release by Kino. Bad transfer presented in non-anamorphic widescreen. Buy only if you can tolerate that kind of amateurism in your movie collection.Published on February 27, 2014 by ES Blofeld
The two stars were for the acting, and all other components except the content. Not sure why anyone would like to watch such sick and disturbing movie, to prove what? Read morePublished on October 8, 2013 by glorious-read
A fifty-ish music professor has an impossible combination of mental, emotional, and sexual dysfunctions. Read morePublished on August 26, 2013 by mr. contrarian