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The Piano Teacher (2001)

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, more...
Director: Michael Haneke, Michael Haneke
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Kino
Genre: Drama, Foreign, France, Erotica
Running Time: 125 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

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. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

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GreenCine Member Reviews

Is it over yet??? by jcas June 18, 2004 - 1:57 PM PDT
4 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Shocking? Yes. Disturbing? You bet. But even worse is the sin of boredom. What a tiresome movie. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy slow, involving films. This was slow, uninvolving and quite frankly, unbelieveable. The actions of Magimel toward the end of the film seem completely inexplicable. I only give it 3 stars instead of one because of the intense acting of Huppert. Your precious time could be spent much better viewing another film.

Piano teacher -- indeed! by EllenM December 15, 2003 - 2:31 PM PST
4 out of 7 members found this review helpful
The music and pianistic expression were alive and lovely. The flick, however had very few, if any [other] redeeming features. The kinky sexual inclinations of the incumbent were a thorough turn-off. It might have some merit
and insights for a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, but there is dubious aesthetic value for the otherwise satiated viewer. It was a waste of two hours (for us) .

Bad Lieutenant Meets Mr. Holland by BCarroll December 30, 2002 - 9:44 AM PST
8 out of 11 members found this review helpful
The title of my review refers to the fact that more than once while watching this I thought if Harvey Keitel was a French chick... Well- that's what I thought- definitely the second strangest car door sex scene after Harveys. That said- I really liked it, mostly due to Huppert's incredible performance and the way dir. Haneke had many shots of her face just barely registering some sort of strange emotion. Several shots reminded me of a European Andrew Wyeth painting. Beautiful music as well and the stars were VERY believable in appearing to play it. Another great foreigh combination of the beautiful and weird and shocking- love that stuff! If you do too- try this!

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.91)
286 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2001
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
Seth's Smut
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