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4.0
6,736 Ratings

The Piano Teacher

La pianiste

Directed by Michael Haneke
Austria, France, 2001
Drama

Synopsis

Erika, a piano teacher at the Vienna Conservatory, lives with her tyrannical mother in a hermetically sealed world of love-hate and dependency in which there is no room for men. Her sex life consists of voyeurism and masochistic self-injury. Then one of Erika’s pupils decides to seduce his teacher.

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The Piano Teacher Directed by Michael Haneke
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
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The success of The Piano Teacher is as much a product of its lead performer as it is its director. Huppert gives Erika’s contradictory behaviour nuance and vitality, while Haneke’s restrained style allows us to attend to the complexity of her performance. Erika’s stern declaration that she lacks feelings is undermined by the obstinacy of her body which conveys much more than she would like.
February 16, 2017
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Haneke uses Huppert’s gaze and frames her face to fully transmit that his portrait is of a lady who’s not right in the head. Huppert’s close-ups, most of them reactions to things that we only ultimately glimpses (if we see them at all), show that Haneke doesn’t need to show us more than those little demonstrations of self-harm to construct the relationship between Huppert’s piano teacher and her student, which descends into an exploration of consent, sanity and the limits of pleasure.
November 16, 2016
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