The Piano Teacher mostly eschews historical and sociological questions. Instead, it stakes its claim on the continued vitality of an endangered European tradition—not classical music but the art cinema itself. Positing a masochistic spectator who wants to suffer through a film like this one, it makes a bid to turn us into teachers—or its transmitters. The paradox is that it works, and that this may mean accepting, as Erika muses in the novel, that "art is no consolation.
September 26, 2017