The Piano Teacher (R-Rated Edition) [VHS]

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  • Generally unpleasant, and often worse
    A cold, emotionally-repressed piano teacher under the thumb of a domineering mother finds release in a variety of inappropriate, unhealthy ways, including peeping into the car window of a young couple being intimate at a drive-in movie and smelling dirty tissues from the trash can of a porn shop video booth. Apologies for being so graphic, but potential viewers should be alerted about what they're getting here. Eventually, the teacher's actions escalate from the inappropriate and mildly criminal activities described to psychotic episodes including the maiming of one of her students.

    To be fair, the movie is well acted, somewhat interesting, and never becomes boring (the worst sin of a creative work, in my opinion), but in the end the unpleasantness, grossness and endless depressing scenes outweigh the artistic value of the piece, making the film an ordeal to finish. Obviously, other reviewers here on Amazon feel differently, but this is my take. And, if you check out my other reviews, you'll see that I don't need a film to be light and feel-good to enjoy it.

    There's a twenty-minute interview with actress Isabelle Huppert on the DVD, where she says that the crux of the film is the main character's desire to be loved in an old-fashioned way ("like something out of a nineteenth century novel") in a world where men only want to seduce her. "Really?" I said to myself, "but how does that explain her desire to be tied up and beaten, as well as the premeditated criminal maiming of her student?" I guess I've gotten out of practice with French cinema from the days when I used to enjoy Truffaut films. ...more info
  • Pointless Movie!!
    I was sold when I saw how many ratings this proclaimed 5 star movie it had received but to my disappointment, it was just a waste of time and money. If you really want to see a good movie about a piano or pianist with a good story to it then I recommend "The Piano".

    This movie was somewhat sickening and pointless. There was no real good story behind the movie. Just 2 puzzling demented sicko's who's only purpose was to make you vomit and throw that movie away. I'd like to give a synopsis about the movie but the truth is, is that there's really no good plot to talk about a synopsis.

    Do yourself a favor and skip this movie. You'll save time and money. Not all 5 star movies have earned their stars....more info
  • Sexual Perversity in Vienna
    It's hard to say what this film is about. The plot has been repeated by others. In summary, the piano teacher follows her sexual fantasies down a path that leads to her destruction. It is as others have said a disturbing film, but for me this is not a compliment. There is little in the film worth taking away. The teacher herself is not especially interesting. She is abusive, mean-spirited, aggressive and destructive as a teacher. She maims one of her charges because the young girl dares to smile at the teacher's new sex toy, a young stud who has convinced himself, unconvincingly, that he loves his tyrant teacher. She is not just perverse; she is criminally insane. Her mother, who is every bit as sick and twisted, is a sexual voyeur and tormentor who exploits her daughter's bizarre sexual predilections which include porn shop cruising, drive-in movie peeping, and self-mutilation. Once she gets her hands on her new charge, she presents him in writing with a list of perverse demands. The handsome boy realizes that he is dealing with a sicko and runs for the hills. She stabs herself. I got little out of watching this mess. Who's to know what it all means or what the author intended. I came up with the idea that this "World" is meant to be "Vienna," Europe's literal or symbolic music capital, a city of beautiful music and the birthplace of Hitler and the author, even though Paris has been used as the film's setting by the director. These two "sides" of Europe seem to coexist, according to the author, but we are given no hint as to what one is meant to do with this knowledge. ...more info
  • Holy crap...
    I cannot deny that this was a powerful film. There are scenes in this film that are so strong that they simply cannot be ignored. Most of you have probably read the synopsis already, so I'll just go on with my review. This film is either one of two things. Either it's a sorry excuse to torture the audience, or it is a richly textured character study of a woman who has some deeply rooted problems. I believe it's a bit of both - and I am no prude. I am always up for a challenging film, but there were times during The Piano Teacher where I just wanted to look away. I came close to cutting it off. However, I have set a strict rule for myself, in that the first time I watch a film, I watch it in it's entirety. I finished it, and I am glad that I did. There would have been no point in stopping it prematurely. The performances were excellent all around. Isabelle Huppert is totally and utterly convincing in what had to have been a difficult, exhausting role. Haneke's direction was amazing as well. The end was very powerful, and haunted me for a week.

    I still can't stop thinking about this film, however I don't think that I could recommend it, either. Watch if you must.

    ...more info
  • Strange, Indeed
    This one mixes classical music and weird sexual perversion. I didn't know whether to chuckle or take it seriously. It is one of the more surreal movies you'll ever watch, debate or not about what it says about women and men. Very French, and by that I mean minimal, yet saying a lot, or seeming to, anyway. The whole thing is pretty senseless, in the end, I thought. The mother-daughter scenes will make you wince, or worse....more info
  • It is just daring madness.
    Forget about reading into any meaning that you think this film may offer. The director is known as just a person who likes to mess with your brains. Anyone who has seen his previous works will snap this one up in an instant. Those who enjoy this movie will likely try his other fine beverages for the head.

    Basically the protagonist, a sexually insane music teacher, is as mad as bag of hammers yet manages to stay somewhat somber in her profession because she fits in with the rest of the snobs, but deep inside she is totally and completely bananas with a surreal sized suppressed sexual appetite to boot. So she walks the music halls with his lemon sucking expression among all the other lemon suckers who are sucking their lemons for very different reasons to hers and for this reason nobody really knows who or what she is like.

    When a music student falls head over heels in love with her they set out on a voyage of absolute debauchery in every nock and cranny that they can do it in. However his love of her is totally blind to her madness. He perceives her sadomasochism as an extension of her frustration when in fact that it just another major part of her psychosis. As they delve around with each other (sometimes very violently) the viewer begins to understand that this is really just a very sick woman who needs treatment fast and yet the world she works in and her lover can not identify it. In fact many viewers will fail to grasp that the main character is crazy until the very last scene which drives the message home like a knife to the heart.

    This is great art-house cinema and as an insane movie ranks up there with the best of them. Some of the [] scenes are very close to X-rated material and certainly many viewers will be put off by that and the heavy amounts of violence that are sometimes on display. In short, this is a great movie about insanity, love and professionalism rolled into one. The characters in this movie are unique and the film is certainly deserving of the acclaim it received.

    Challenging....more info

  • kitsch ridiculous no content no aesthetics, boredom.
    This film is simply boring, as are perversions, fixations and all that stuff that in general interests solely psychoanalists,and that just because they get paid to listen to such idiotic craziness. Huppert is OK in this horrid movie, nevertheless I would not save her from the blast. All you will get is annoyed from watching this, it allows no day-after thoughts, it does not linger on within you, as nothing in the movie actually is transcending in any conceivable way.
    This film is about a pianist who happens to have hell for a home. Continuing the metaphor, the musician's mother is a she-devil kind of thing. To be fair to, well, the devil devil, who's most likely a guy, the pianist's mother is no more than a crippled old lady who has raised her child in an incestuous fashion, thus promoting the multiple sexual nightmarish deeds this woman, as an adult, would engage in. Along with that, the lack of love she "suffers from" proves to be the same rejection and hatred she actually demands in others and, accordingly, delivers to everyone surrounding her.
    This film is like a classical videoclip. While we enjoy some Schumann tunes we see the piano teacher wrapping herself in acts of extreme cruelty, sex that is far from enjoyable to any average individual, over the edge irrational unbuyable conversation with her mother, the pursual of something more love-like in a younger person (that is, mostly being despised and having a kick out of it). To decidedly ruin the movie is the ending, which stands as one of the worst I have ever undergone.
    This film has no story line, it does not reach out to the viewer, in it there is no landmark aesthetics of any sort, no revolt against anything, no adherence to anything. It is nonesense poured into allegedly disturbing images, but why would any creator do that? Just for the sake of filming sickening stuff. That is easy to do. Tape a dog dying or a mother crying the loss of her child and you are there. But what for? And, is it cinema?
    This film is garbage. The main character seeked hatred. Go a step further ahead and hate the whole thing altogether....more info
  • Don't you get it?
    What a brilliant movie about incest and how it leads to the devastation of a woman. A woman who can't feel anything, who is trying desperately in every way to feel...something. And when someone presents himself to draw her out of her withered self, all she can do is re-enact her adoloscent despair. Come on, folks -- her mother tells her she's filthy, she berates her for giving in to a man -- this is Psychology 101, but brilliantly acted and compelling. Of course, she wants her student to be damaged, because she is both jealous and trying to protect her student from her overbearing parents. I doubt that I'm going to sleep well tonight....more info
  • Quite funny
    Deadly accurate too, especially the mother stuff. Incredible performances, but I'd rather curl up with the cat and watch 'Roman Holiday'. Life's too short to roll around in the John....more info
  • how much and how little any two can share at the limit
    this is a movie that makes critical contributions hard to express, albeit 233rdc's review does the job so well.

    anyway, upon learning what ms. huppert had to say (in the extras) i was puzzled by her obliquely appropriating this work in the name of feminism--the director's opinion on this is sorely absent.

    i consider this movie makes an artistic point about what takes place at the near-intersection of woman's pathology with mundane masculinity. the main characters, polarized with such charges, fiercely exhaust each other in a unique orbit (i.e. attraction & repulsion.) they do so much onto each other yet there are the unintended consequences that they live and die by and not their prior projections.

    it is also worth noticing how MUSIC catalyzes everything up to the point where the orbiting gets dangerous; then it stops. music is all they share, everything else is just a succession of opposite positions the characters take along identical dimenssions.

    excellent acting, excellent directing, excellent story, good music!...more info

    Hardly. Erika (Isabelle Huppert) is one of the highest regarded and sought after classical piano instructors around. She's held in very high esteem at the conservatory where she teaches. She holds private lessons and does recitals. She's prim, proper and brutally strict with her students. She also cruises porno shops, watches the porn videos (graphically displayed and the only skin in this film) and peeps in lovers' parked cars at the drive-in where she gets so turned on she urinates. She also cuts her vagina with a razor when frustrated. She lives with her aged harridan mother (Annie Girardot) who pushes her daughter to achieve so hard that it results in mama bashing. Then along comes stud-puppy/jock/wanna-be piano whiz Walter (Benoit Magimel) who starts hitting on Erika right and left until she caves in (in a bathroom) and reveals her inability to have normal sex which frustrates the heck out of Walter. But he professes to love her and agrees to whatever she wants. Sort of. She writes a letter telling him what she wants. The utter degradation she desires in that letter made me wonder, dear Lord---how many "dark sides" does this woman have? She wants to be tied up, slapped around, beaten, sexually humiliated, gagged---the list goes on and on. Walter is repulsed. No dice, Erika. She follows him and begs for his forgiveness and then promptly throws up when he complies to her demands for impromptu oral sex. He throws her out in disgust. Then he comes begging back in the middle of the night, claiming she's bewitched his brain with her "sickness". He locks Mama in the bedroom, brutally beats and kicks Erika and rapes her. He says in effect, "Isn't this what you wanted?" What a cad. He even gets away with it. But the ending is what really threw me. I felt like I was the one needing a good slap. The performances in this film are excellent. Especially Huppert. But I can't believe she let the director get away with that ending. It just left me empty and mad that I watched it. The character of Walter is disgusting. Erika is no less pathetic---she's extremely sick and even puts broken glass in a promising but scared student's coat pocket so she'll slice up her hand and can't play. And gets away with it! I don't know who I could recommend this film to. It's played so dreadfully serious---even the scene where Erika tries to have sex with her mother. All I can say is, if you've read what I've written here and you still want to see it, then go for it. But if you're the least bit hesitant, stay away from it. It's that disturbing and unbelievable....more info
  • Notch the average viewer mental age down another year...13?
    This film starts off with promise, There's no better actress around on any screen in any language than Huppert. There are no decorative frills adorning the set or her face, a good sign that we may be going to deal with an honest & grown-up subject.

    Than it all deteriorates into the silliest kind of adolescent male fantasies about domination & bondage, without the smallest inkling of what's going on in this woman's head. Huppert's blank stares can work wonders when there's enough material in the script for the viewer to fill in the blanks. But here blank is just blank. Her gratuitously nasty, "kinky" & baseless behavior wound up making me & others I watched this with want to see a great big tire tread running across those classic features.

    Definitely for repressed multiplex audiences....more info

  • Huppert the tops
    Huppert's performance in this movie left me staggering out of the theater and determined to see the film at my own pace so I bought the DVD. The movie is a testament to Huppert's versatility. The movie goes far beyond any American movie in its character's relvelations of her lonely and suppressed nature. I cannot imagine any other actress putting herself through the scenes that Huppert, a consumate actress, played with incredible skill. It deserves all the awards it won at the Cannes Film Festival....more info
  • Huppert magnificent in the title role of The Piano Teacher
    The Piano Teacher shows us a few days in the life of a disturbed woman who is both victim and victimizer. Isabelle Huppert briliantly plays the part of Erika Kohut, a middle-aged piano teacher at a music college in Vienna. Annie Giradot is no less effective as her domineering and watchful mother. The two women abuse one another physically and verbally. This relationship is long standing and comes to a crisis as the film progresses.

    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. The sexual tension between teacher and pupil is immediately apparent and moves forward to a collision some reviewers have likened to a bad car accident.

    In the end we see Erika and her student reduced to the lowest common demoninator as human beings. At first Erika is successful at dominating her young student, but the tables are turned as she becomes dependent on him. Both teacher and student are playing a zero sum game to lose. The final climax and its denoument leave Erika a wounded, broken woman.

    The director, Michael Haneke, elicits finely tuned performances by all the players, particularly Huppert, who is magnificent in the title role. Haneke has made this film for adults only. It is dark and disturbing from beginning to end with moments of pain and violence that are as real as anything one is likely to see on the screen.

    Huppert as the piano teacher has no redeeming qualities we are able to see in the short space of time covered by the film. Viewers looking for a pleasant and agreeable entertainment are urged to search elsewhere. Haneke shows us a dark side of life and he is unflinching in its portrayal....more info

  • Yowks! This is one scary woman
    I've seen Isabelle Huppert in three films now, and there's something about her looks, her expression, an inner stillness that goes right down to the base of her spine - something that lets you know she's a coiled spring all set to go sprooooiiiiing! This is one scary woman. The Piano Teacher takes this woman's sexual frustration and obsession to heights of perversity and cruelty that rise to the level of masterpiece. I can't say I 'enjoyed' watching this film, but I would give it the highest recommendation on every level because of the masterly performances of all involved. It's hard to watch, but once started, you'll find it impossible NOT to watch.
    Five stars....more info
  • Misses the Mark
    I have to disagree with other reviewers who have heaped praise and many stars on this movie which I found to be art house at it's least pleasing. You will have seen words like, dark, brooding, disturbing thrown around like confetti, when in truth the movie simply does not deliver. What leaves an sour taste in the mouth is not the disturbed main character, nor the semi graphic sexual scenes, but mainly a very very compelling film that ends abruptly, if not predictably leaving the viewer feeling cheated. Is it well made? yes - well acted? sure - but like so many of these "critically acclaimed" dramas it's missing one vital thing. Most stories have a beginning, middle and an end - and this just leaves you hanging after nearly two hours, saying "What?"...more info
  • A Sensitive Reviewer
    It has been about two weeks since I viewed this film. I still think of it often and find myself genuinely disturbed by it. I don't agree at all with the reviewers who found the movie pretentious or boring. It is absolutely riveting and dark, but you have to wonder what you are viewing, what is being said about women (even if the novel the film is based on was written by a woman), and why such a subject has to be told in such a graphic way. It seems that if something absolutely repulsive is created in an artistic way people are eager to praise it or risk being labeled anti-intellectual. I saw the rated R version and had to turn away and even fast forward the scene involving the violent confrontation. Anyone who can view what looks like rape to me and call out "brilliant!" or "artistic masterpiece!" is too twisted for my taste. This is not a film for a seeker of beauty or anyone with a sensitive heart. Even if you love drama and tragedy, as I do, this work is in a category all its own. I read a review that likened this film to a car accident: you know you shouldn't look at what could be a gruesome mess, but you look anyway. Try not to look. You might regret it and feel a cloud over your spirit for quite awhile....more info
  • Give it a day to sink in...
    Yes, I felt like I had been gutted after first seeing it. But not until the next day did I begin to see the true brilliance of this creation. I won't repeat much of what has already been said by those who appreciate the film, but there is one new area I want to touch on...
    Why exactly did the teacher put the broken glass in the student's pocket? Most reviewers have noted that it only reflected her cruelty and reaction to an unsatifactory performance. I must disagree. Watch the scene again. Huppert is moved to tears as she watches her student playing on stage. The student is quite an expressive girl (crying & vocalizing her fears)- just the opposite of Huppert's character.

    There is a scene later in the film, after the girl is injured, when Huppert discusses the accident with the girl's mother. The mother, visibly upset, states "We gave up everything so she could study piano" and Huppert immediately snaps "You mean SHE gave up everything, don't you."

    So it was my thought that Huppert was simply saving this young expressive student from her own destiny. She didn't want the girl to end up like HER, repressed & hardened, condemned to a life of recitals...gradually killing the soul in the pursuit of perfection.

    For me, that realization made all the difference in what I experienced through this film. Brilliant....more info

  • Art does not have to be "nice"
    The "Piano Teacher" is one of *those* films.
    You are probably either going to *love* it, or you are going to LOATHE it. There is really no middle ground.

    So which will it be, for you?
    If you like your films easy and with Arnold Schwarzenegger in, you will almost undoubtedly loathe it. If you come from some rural backwater and believe in that whole "christian" thing, the same applies. If you have heard that this film is "dirty" and has "sex in it" you will probably feel deeply ripped off.

    If on the other hand, you know that Hollywood has only produced four or five films worth a damn in the last ten years, and have turned your attentions to the films of the rest of the world, you will be in for a serious treat. "The Piano Teacher" is a real film, about real people, and real human relationships and as such it is neither simplistic or particularly easy to watch.

    If you like films that make you think and draw a deep emotional response, you will like this film. If you like the idea of a lloooonnng argument or acrimonious discussion after a film, "The Piano Teacher" is definitely one to watch. It *really* stirs the pot.

    A brilliant film, but one that some people find very difficult to deal with. Check out some of the commentaries on this film on the web, just search for "Piano Teacher meaning" on Google.

    Magnificent stuff, and top marks to Isabelle Huppert for one of the greatest performances EVER in a motion picture.

    ...but beware the warnings, this film is not for those who value simple pleasures....more info

  • A Film That Will Make You Scratch Your Seat...
    It's been nearly a year since I saw 'The Piano Teacher', but I still have the images in my mind, still sharp, still intense, still somewhat disturbing. But, I like it that way. Heineke's film, is definitely one of the biggest rises in French film industry. And I agree with the other reviewers, that the film's unknownness is directly related to its unconventional tension, which literally made me scratch my seat in the theater.

    The film focuses on Isabelle Huppert's sexual and social psychosis, and her isolation from the rest of the society. During the course of the movie, Huppert goes through a couple of sexual explosions, which are not at a pleasing nor satisfying level at all, but rather resulting in discontent and hatred among her and her partner, who is the student she gives piano lessons to. This after-scene suffices for you to feel odd. Her sexual inmaturity, gives rise to her weird behavior during daily life. Her seclusion of her own mother, that precedes her real harrassment of her, is a good example of this idea.

    This film involves severe tension, sexual and social violence. Beware of this fact before you purchase the film. It's a brilliant film, but for some people. Some may not like the content. Great production by Heineke, great acting by Isabelle Hupport!...more info

  • Indifference and love meet
    Isabelle Huppert, plays a fastiduous piano teacher inside the establishments of French high culture and music. As a professional instructor, she is determined to turn students into fine piano players. Nevertheless outside her professional life, she descends into pornography and sexual taboo.

    In the midst of her exploration of sexuality, a young male student falls in love with her. Why, don't ask? I don't think she has too much personality going for her myself. She constantly suppresses her intimate feelings, while her student devotes his unremitting attention to her.
    I will spare you the the details. Warning, see this movie without your children....more info
  • Prepare yourself
    I was originally attracted to this film because I am/was a pianist and I was interested to see a French take on a movie involving a musician.

    Wow... upon first viewing, I was quite shocked. There are some scenes in this movie that are downright disturbing. If you've seen any French film, you may know what to expect. If you haven't, this may not be the right film to start with. Ultimately, it was very well acted and well directed. The special features aren't enormous, but what is there is quite interesting, including an interview with Isabelle Huppert.

    It's hard to describe, really. If you're used to American film, you probably won't like it right away. Give it a chance. If you don't like it, that's fine. ...more info
  • Powerful and Disturbing
    After I saw "La Pianiste" several years ago, I said to myself that I would never see it again, so powerful and disturbing it was. Time went on but I could not get the movie and its main character, Erika Kahut out of my mind. The story of a respected Piano teacher in Vienna Conservatory, cool and collected on the surface, an expert in classical music, with the inner world so dark and disturbing with the demons of fear, self-loathing and self destruction strong enough to ruin her demanded more than one viewing. I read the book "The Piano Teacher" by Elfriede Jelinek, the controversial Nobel Prize winner in literature that the film is based on and after reading it I saw the film again. Second time, all pieces of puzzle came to the right places. Not very often an outstanding harrowing book is transferred to the screen with such brilliancy as "Le Pianiste". Three actors gave outstanding performances. Franz Schubert's Piano music, "soaked in the morbid humanity", is another bright star of the movie.

    I only have one problem with Haneke's vision. There is a scene in the film where Haneke made some changes to Erika's character comparing to the novel. In the book, the furthest she went to reveal herself to Walter, the young student in the conservatory who became attracted to her was in a letter. As soon as he realized what he was dealing with and showed to her how much he was repulsed by that, she had stopped communicating with him. Erika of the book would never chase Walter to throw herself to him. She kept everything inside - she did not like to act, she was not a chaser - she loved to watch. The big scene during the hockey game was not necessary. It tried to make Erika sympathetic (and of course, Huppert was heartbreaking) but it took the mystery that surrounded her - Jelinek did not write that scene, it sounded and looked false in otherwise excellent film.

    4.5/5 or 9/10...more info
  • The Piano Teacher: yet another example of why I love French cinema.,
    "A feature film is twenty-four lies per second." -- Michael Haneke.

    Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke (Cache (Hidden), Code Unknown) is known for his "disturbing" film style. "My films are intended as polemical statements against the American 'barrel down' cinema and its dis-empowerment of the spectator," he says. "They are an appeal for a cinema of insistent questions instead of false (because too quick) answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating closeness, for provocation and dialogue instead of consumption and consensus." That said, based on the novel The Piano Teacher by Austrian Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, Haneke's compelling 2002 French film, The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste), tells the story of Professor Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert), a cruel piano professor at a prestigious Vienna music conservatory. Lonely and sexually repressed, she shares an apartment with her domineering mother (Annie Girardot). Erika is a case study in Freudian psychology. Behind her prudish fa?ade, she enjoys a long list of fetishes. She frequents sex shops, watches porn, hides bondage toys in her boudoir, mutilates her vagina, and watches couples having sex at drive-ins. At a recital, she meets Walter (Beno?t Magimel), an engineering student, who not only has an appreciation for Schumann and Schubert, but believes he can melt Erika's icy persona, even though he is unwilling to engage in her erotic fantasies. In fact, he is "repulsed" by Erika's notion of sex. Isabelle Huppert's performance is nothing less than riveting. Jelinek's story is reminiscent of Catherine Breillat's work, and like Breillat's film genius (Romance, Anatomy of Hell, Fat Girl, Brief Crossing (Breve Traversee)), Haneke proves in this film that he isn't afraid to confront the hard truths of human sexuality in a completely non-judgmental way.

    G. Merritt ...more info
  • Distubing
    I just watched this film and feel as if I need a shower. This is an emotionally drainiing film about two very sick and twisted people: the mother and the daughter. The mother is like Mama Rose in Gypsy, totally focused on her daughter and unwilling or unable to let her go. The daughter is so damaged she cannot break away from her mother and at the same time is sexually repressed and turns to porno to relieve her repression. But it really doesn't release her. At times I felt like strangling that mother but that mother is so sick I felt ashamed at how I felt.

    This film will stick with you, whether you like it or not and I'm not sure. I watched it through until the end (which means I didn't hate it or I would have walked away). Isabelle Huppert is magnificent (as she always is) and no one plays a repressed woman on the verge of eruption (see La Ceremonie).

    Even her feelings about Schubert are twisted.

    I still would say it's worth a rental. You will not forget this movie, I promise....more info
  • Saddest movie ive ever seen
    Sad in a sick twisted way. Most depressing? maybe. The story is about an uptight sexually repressed piano teacher who lives with her old mother. Also the students she teaches. She has a gift for music and comes off as very intelligent yet emotionless. One of her younger students falls in love with her, attempts to seduce her and she keeps trying to control him and use him for her warped version of love. I still cant tell if she really loved him or not. It seems the only time she feels anything is when shes inflicting pain on herself or pain on others, even the student who loves her.

    She makes him do certain things and will deny his affections. Then when he does what she supposedly wanted him to do which was disturbing in itself, she is still just sitting there with no emotion at all. This woman was definitely mentally ill and i tried to understand her character but there wasnt really enough information. I dont want to give away the ending but the whole movie is a downer. I didnt understand what happened at the end or what became of her but i have to say this, this is probably the saddest portrayal of anyone ive ever seen on film. I still cant tell what exactly made her that way. Is she a sociopath? Was she abused at some point? Its a slow moving film but effective....more info
  • Jelinek, Haneke, & Huppert
    Nobel or no, it surprised me Jelinek's novel got made into a movie. There is of course a filmable plot to the book, but its blunt narrative is so stylized, almost childish in its urgent impetus, and hounded all throughout with a foreboding sense of reader-voyeurism, that it seemed to me totally unfilmable or at least very difficult to reproduce on film.

    And then I thought - of course, Haneke. The master of cool intellectual voyeurism, done in a visually often flat but (for the viewer) psychologically harrowing way. Plus, Huppert, the master of sangfroid surrender. It could not be any more perfect. Who else but these two to translate onto film the strange, disinterested yet intense tone of the book?! Yet, curiously, the result is surprisingly a lot less like either Jelinek or Haneke.

    For one thing, I've never seen his camera as romantic as it is here. It's almost lyric, and although unblinking in its gaze on Erika, it also clearly pities her. It shows her depravity, but it *sees* her as ill. I found myself wondering why Haneke did this. He could not have failed to see the book has far less pity than a slight contempt in its clinical scrutiny. Nor could it quite have been the usual 'movie' reason of having to make its main character sympathetic enough to stay with -- at least not for the director of movies like 'The Seventh Continent.'

    These aren't complaints. I have no complaints against this movie. But it should be said that even if Haneke isn't interested in a transparent novel-to-film transfer, it's not as obvious in its being a 'Haneke' film (again, not a complaint).

    Actually, I think the movie is all Huppert's. She's devastating and devastated and completely searing.

    ...more info
  • Exceptional in Every Way a Film Can Be!
    Michael Haneke is an artist of rare vision who demonstrates in "The Piano Teacher" (La Pianiste), the depth of his insight into the human condition. However, be warned that, in this film, the director demonstrates a levity of mood and captures a portrait of reality that many may find uncomfortable, and even unwatchable. The film was booed by audiences at Cannes 2001 despite the fact that the film's two main performers won best actress and actor awards respectively for their performances. I think the film is one of the most amazingly well-directed and well-acted that I've seen in many years. However, you should be aware that this film is NOT for the faint-hearted.

    The central character of the film, Erika Kahut, is more complex than any I've seen, and Isabelle Huppert plays her to perfection. Huppert is my favorite actress and with her icy eyes and cold, even cruel manner, she is riveting to watch. You find yourself asking from the beginning of the film and throughout, what is behind those blank eyes? Is it madness, pain, desire, need? Is it all of these? Whatever it is, it is utterly compelling. The character never explains her actions, nor does the film. Perhaps that is why she is so fascinating. It is as if her face is an opaque surface upon which we can read whatever we wish to.

    Erika Kahut, the piano teacher, is a woman in her 40s, lives with her mother, and teaches at a prestigious music school in Vienna. By day, she is an exacting, even monstrously cruel teacher who is constantly reminded by her mother of her failure to become a famous pianist. This is perhaps what compels Erika to be so utterly sadistic toward her students. She resents their potential successes and tries to sabotage the work of the more talented students to ensure that they will not succeed. After abusing her students by day, she goes home to her overbearing mother. She then invents excuses to go out.

    At night, the "daytime Erika" of the conservatory is left behind as she goes to porn booths and watches sexually graphic films and sniffs leftover tissues of former patrons to, we presume, get a sexual kick. She does other sexually exotic things throughout the film that are kinky enough to give the kinky pause.

    When Erika meets a young, handsome piano player, Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel), her world of sexual sadism and self-destruction is taken to the extreme. Walter wants a traditional love affair with Erika, but she has something very different in mind.

    The climactic scene where the two of them fight for dominance is one that will go down in cinema history as one of the most horrifying, sad, real, and insightful sex scenes ever filmed. You will NEVER forget Erika's face when she looks fully into the heart of darkness with Walter.

    This is a must-see for film lovers and a must-have for Huppert fans....more info
  • A dark and sometimes disturbing film
    Some may be put off by the length of the film (and even more by the fact that it is not in English) but I urge you to sit through this film, watch it to its disturbing end.

    This is an excellent film which looks more into how we view people and how they really are. Huppert is excellent as a middle class piano teacher who on the outside is a rigid woman in control of her life as much as she is in control of her students, she demands perfection and accepts no excuses. In her private life however, she is torn apart by contradictions. Hupperts commentary in additional material sums it up perfectly, she is almost like a child. Smothered by a mother who controls every aspect of her private life she resorts to what many would consider a 'perverse' private life.

    She becomes the unwilling victim of the attractions of one of her students, a young man who has it all, well off family, friends and the social standing that means what he wants, he gets. After a long pursuit Hppert finally gives in only to discover that by opening up to this young man she may lose more than she ever imagined.

    This is a film that does at time demand your attention as does last over 2 hours but sit through it, you will be rewarded by the end....more info
  • now this is a great psychological portrait
    Bound to become a classic of world cinema, 'the piano teacher', is Michael Haneke's most perfect film.. It tells the story of a women so repressed and abused by her mother that she explodes with sexual tension..
    it comes out in her music.. and in a sort of chaotic relationship with one of her students.. at times incestuous and at times perverse this is a truly disturbed women who is as rigid as her own philosophy of music- this is a must see - a modern classic from a powerful new cinematic voice.....more info
  • A Very Dark Tale!
    Being a piano teacher myself, I was very curious about this film. I don't teach in a conservatory, but do know that artists at that level can become very eccentric, and when they feel threatened, they can be vicious. Still, this film took that to the extreme and then some. Erika's relationship with her mother didn't make it any easier to achieve mental health, and her sexual fantansies and perversions drove her deeper into the abyss. By all outward appearances, she was a repressed, uptight bully with most of her students who went home to a quiet life with her equally repressed, bullying mother, but she often sneaked out at night to act out her fantasies. It's when an attractive student takes a romantic interest in her that she decides she can use him to act out her ultimate fantasies of being beaten and abused to an extreme. She controls him cruelly until he agrees to follow through. Some of this is hard to watch, but the film is never judemental, and Erika's humanity is always there. As twisted as she has become, she is never a caricature or a two-dimensional character. This is a very dark, very adult tale that left me a little shaken, as I'm sure was intended. ...more info
  • The Piano Teacher
    "The Piano Teacher" is directed by Michael Haneke, is in French and is a very odd film that requires patience from the viewer. It's slow moving, slowly told, and ironically...It's about a woman who's sanity is slowly unraveling. I really don't have that much to say about the film and I feel no need to explain the synopsis, so I'll say this. Respected French actress Isabelle Huppert does give an amazing performance and is one of the most cold-hearted characters since Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
    Not everybody will like this movie...I myself didn't like it the first time I watched it. The New Yorker said this film has "what may be the strangest sex scene in the history of movies," something I must dispute. I want to know which scene they're talking about because I don't recall seeing such a scene.
    I mean, there are a few sex scenes but none are completely strange. In the end, this is a love it or hate if movie...Enjoy.

    GRADE: B-
    ...more info
  • Dark Layers of a Twisted Psyche
    Usually I am not the type who likes dark, indeterminate, artsy movies -- I prefer to be entertained by a good story, quality comedy or satire. Had I read these reviews, I probably would have not chosen to view this film. However, not knowing what to expect, I found this one very engaging, gripping and more than a bit haunting. Increasingly repulsive, yet fascinating on a number of levels. There is less plot than in the visually-stunning "The Talented Mr. Ripley" or beautiful muscial "Sweeney Todd," (both highly recommended), but this similarly takes you deeper into the twisted psyche of a monstrous human being -- in this case, a repressed middle-aged, French classical piano teacher. Powerful images stayed with me long after viewing. It's a well-crafted, superbly-acted film on a very difficult, abstract subject. Highly recommended if you like looking into the darker layers of humanity, society and sexuality, without Hollywood's mandatory PC crap or in-your-face politicizing. The French may be pains-in-the butt in terms of international relations, but boy can they paint a twisted celluloid portrait. Excellent, but not a first-date movie! ...more info
  • Loneliness & Sexual Perversity make for disturbing bedfellows
    First let me put on the record, Isabelle Huppert gives a dynamite performance which is both disturbing, and ultimately very sad .I had first seen her in the movie "Ma Mare", which was also great. "The Piano Teacher" is a hard film to watch as the subject matter is quite disturbing. It is not the Caf®¶ Latte S&M of pretty young twenty-somethings exploring their boundaries here; it delves into the true nature of sexual perversity.
    Loneliness is a terrible burden to bear and part of the strength of the film is that the director never reduces Huppert to a freak show. Her pain is apparent even though she is at many times a fairly odious (and occasionally downright psychopathic character) Hints of what has led her to this situation are given, the unhealthy co-dependant relationship she has with her mother, the perfectionism and driven nature that pervades her working life, madness in the family. In the end it doesn't really matter how it came about as it is an examination of a person in that state and how they fall apart both emotionally and mentally that is being examined here. There are many scenes which stayed in my mind long after the film ended: 2 particular scenes stood out for me:

    The scene both embarrassing, horrific and also incredibly sad as the young student reads with disgust a letter Huppert has written to him in front of her detailing her sadomasochistic fantasies that she harbors. We are torn between horrors at the graphic nature of the degradation she fetishists and feel sorry for the horrible and humiliating rejection she receives at the hands of the young student.

    Also the gut wrenching final scene, the act of self mutilation and look of madness and despair on her face, the director has captured the despair and horror of so much of human existence.

    An important film to see but don't expect to be uplifted!
    ...more info
  • Deserves to be considered a classic
    Like all of Haneke's films, the less you know going in the better, so I'm not going to discuss the plot. You probably already know that it's about a sexually, uh...different...piano teacher portrayed by Isabelle Huppert with astonishing and heart-breaking power, and really, that's all you need at this point. Don't read the plot synopsis above, as it gives away absolutely everything--really, I think Amazon needs to take it down immediately.

    Although this film might not be for everyone (particularly the squeamish or the faint of heart), it's an astonishingly powerful work of art. A lot of "art" movies are boring, perhaps because they are inaccessible; I can't think of anyone who could sit through this one bored. You can think about this movie on the surface or you can keep plumbing its thematic depths, to very worthwhile results. Aside from the obvious themes in the film, such as madness and sexual repression, the break between high art and popular culture, and sexual/romantic politics, I consider this an important feminist and even neomarxist film (insofar as the film is a criticism of capitalist society)--don't believe me? Google Adorno's essay "The Culture Industry" and see how closely his ideas are paralleled in the film. But this isn't just me being pretentious, Haneke has Erika drop Adorno's name in casual conversation in the second scene of the film; and of course, Elfriede Jelinek, Noble Prize in Literature winner in 2004 (a scandalous win that shook up the stuffy old academy) is a feminist writer, so we know to look for these themes. Other themes include: voyeurism (especially yours, the viewer...Haneke is definitely trying to punish you for your prurient search for titillation disguised as high art--we're all guilty of it!), parent-child relationships and stage parents, and on an intriguing level, the nature of love, and how it's perverted by capitalist society.

    Sound like too much for one film? It's not! This one will profoundly shock you, leave you thinking about it for days. I've been thinking about it for months now, and only slowly did many of the ideas in the film become clear.

    That's the great thing about Haneke; he can weave a lot of different concepts into a film which still works as a film--I can't say you'll have fun, but you will definitely NOT be bored.
    ...more info
  • Breathtaking and Intense
    This movie is unusual from the beginning. I was so transfixed when I first saw it in the theater that I went back three more times. This is unlike you will see from an American studio. The French, it seems, display more bravado when dealing with controversial topics. The story centers around Erika (played magnificently by Isabelle Huppert), a piano teacher still being treated like a 12-year-old by her mother(Annie Girardot). Erika seems to derive all of her satisfaction in life by means of a piano. When a younger man shows interest in her, she at first, rebuffs him. You get the impression that Erika has never been involved in a relationship with a man before. The problem is, the man,Walter,(also magnificently played by Benoit Magimel), doesn't know what he's getting himself into. The object of his desire performs masochistic experiments on herself, even to the point of drawing blood. (This scene is omitted in the R Rated version.) After Erika has her student attacked she and Walter proceed to have perhaps, the most unusual sex scene you are ever to see on film. The story unravels with her revelation that she wants him to beat her. The catch, ironically enough,is that she doesn't want to be beaten, she wants to be loved. Everything comes to a head at the when Walter beats and rapes her. The apparent moral of this is: don't say anything you don't absolutely mean. And perhaps, be careful what you wish for. Walter, himself, also says something he ultimately doesn't mean. I found the ending unexpected when I first saw it, and I don't want to give it away. You will have to see it for yourself. Isabelle Huppert's performance in this picture is haunting. You sense her character's cold exterior, while simultaneously, sensing her inner vulnerability. The classical music of Franz Schubert is expertly placed in this movie. And it's effect is obvious when you see it. Both co-stars spent a year perfecting the music. There is nothing false about their performances. There are a number of scenes in this movie that can turn your stomach. If you are looking for lighthearted fare you might want to look elsewhere. But if you are intrigued by something complex and daring, a movie that holds no punches, a movie that will have you talking about it after it is over, or if you appreciate first-rate acting, then I highly recommend this movie. It ranks at the very top of my list of favorites, and has made me into a lifelong devotee of Isabelle Huppert. The DVD includes a 20 minute interview with the star....more info
  • one of the worst Cannes winners
    That movie was soooo boring. An old teacher living together with her mum, whom she hates, very blunt loud dialogues between them, why does an independent self supporting lady stay there at all, ridiculous..
    I was very, very disappointed of actress Huppert's role, it was not her fault, that she had so little to do or say, eg in that scene on the public toilet.
    E. Jelinek's story was either not transported or is it really so far away from real life, or sex, or even perverse perversion?
    I did not even try to find out, too much time spent on that already. Sorry.
    ...more info
  • art film with realistic, and extremely ugly, psychology
    The French have a way of creating films full of people you would never want to know, should not want to know, and if you saw them would fail to see what lies below the surface. In other words, they explore parts of the human condition that Hollywood wouldn't touch. Huppert brilliantly realizes the portrayal of an emotionally twisted woman: maniacally focused on her art, from a bizarre household she cannot escape, and unable to form loving relationships. SHe is at times sad, cruel, and sexually experimental. However, as a reflection of her loneliness and pain, there is nothing whatsoever titillating about her sexuality.

    The ride is rough and it isn't for everyone. This is excellent psycho-drama, destined to be a classic that will never achieve a wide audience. Recommended with caution....more info
  • The Worst Movie Of All Time
    This is the number one worst movie I have ever seen. I usually love French films and enjoy the unprudish and free attitude in most of them, but this one went too far. I wanted to leave the theatre, but I was too transfixed in horror to move. I gagged, I winced, I covered my eyes, but still I couldn't move. After the torture was finally over I felt shellshocked and needed to go home and watch The Lion King to recover. It was a glimpse into the world of a sad, demented, and twisted character that I did not need to see. There was no point to this movie and I felt that it existed purely for shock value with no lesson, point or true plot. If you value your time do not watch this movie....more info
  • Sickening but sometimes compelling.
    Most viewers either love or hate this lurid and sometimes over-the-top examination of sexual disfunction and insanity, but I'm probably in the minority in that my ultimate reaction to it is...ehh.

    I don't need a film to be fully understandable to enjoy and appreciate it, but still I found this one as a whole defectively inconherent and unconvincing; specifically (spoilers ahoy) I didn't buy: 1) the locker room scene where Huppert in a big, big shift in previous tone and behavior gives herself to the jock; 2) her impromptu attempt to make love to her mother (ugh); 3) nor the "stab-to-the-heart" ending, which while jarring, is also highly disconnected -- looks to me it was just thrown in for shock value (or craftily, to get people to wonder and talk about it like any respectable artsy film would aspire to).

    However, this film *is* worth a look for the magnificent performance of Isabella Huppert and several unflinching and wrenching (and sometimes disgusting) scenes (not including those already mentioned) which will linger in your memory like limburger cheese on a full stomach. (People might also want to compare this film with Roman Polanski's 1960's _Repulsion_, with Catherine Deneuve, which I thought was a much more effective portrait of sexual repression and descent into madness.)

    My review here pertains to the R-rated VHS version; I have not seen the unrated version, which presumably contains more wretched excesses, like the vaginal mutilation scene, which is missing here.

    ...more info
  • Debasement, Debauchery, Deceitfulness! What A Daunting Film!
    "The Piano Teacher" is the story of Erika Kohut (a once in a lifetime role, perfectly played by French actress, Isabelle Huppert) is a renowned piano professor at the Vienna Conservatory, a top-notch prestigious music school in Vienna. Erika, in her early forties and still painfully single, lives and even sleeps in the same bed with her vicious, overprotective and sadistic controlling mother (played aptly by Annie Girardot, however the part was initially offered to the fabulous Jeanne Moreau). Erika is a complex human being to say the least. Besides the fact that she is playing host to a many colored different lifestyle by acting as the "man of the house", Erika is utterly and deeply sexually repressed. When things in Erika's tiny, cloistered life get too horribly awful for her own self-expression and outpouring of feelings, she resorts to sexual self-mutilation, voyeurism, porn shops, and her own underworld of unspeakable acts on other human beings besides herself. Then... Erika meets Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel), a engineering student-cum-talented pianist who signs on to Erika's "Master Class" that she teaches at conservatory. Walter is struck by the singularly quiet but strong, Erika and he lets his feelings be known. However, Erika "expresses" herself in very "different" ways such as sexual sado-masochism and writes to Walter all the things that she longs for him to "do" to her, all the while, Erika treats Walter like less than a human as she does, most all the people and her own students in her sick, sad and twisted life. The irony of this story is that Erika can only truly express herself and her scant good, beautiful and natural feelings "a priori"- in and through her music, but in really no other way. Her sick and twisted thoughts of man overpowering woman, rape, a sexual relationship with her own mother, self-mutilation, and general sadistic behavior overtake her and in the end... Well, watch and find out for yourself. Really, over and above it all, Erika's jealousy of other human beings who can and DO express their longings, fears, joys, and disappointments get to her in the end. When Erika is finally able to express her feelings and what it is she THINKS that she wants and desires in her sad half-human, base sort of way, she is rejected and thus the end to the tale is quite a sad one... This is probably the most sexually charged movie that I have viewed without any of the cast being the least bit naked. There is no quivering frontal flesh in this fabulous film, only frightful, frigid, fruitless feelings that will cut you to the bone... Careful Viewing Is Required......more info
  • Huppert All the Way
    Erika (Isabelle Huppert) is a fortyish piano teacher with deeply repressed sexual feelings. She lives with her mother (Annie Girardot), a controlling, oppressive woman, and deals with her erotic longings through voyeurism, visits to sex shops and self mutiliation. She still sleeps with her mother. The film largely takes place at the conservatory where she teaches and at the apartment she shares with her mother.

    Huppert in an excellent on-disc interview says Erika longs to be loved but is frightened of seduction. She treats her students coldly but is drawn to one who is vain and handsome, and played by Benoit Magimel. The rest is the story of her creating and accepting a masochistic relationship with the young man that spirals down into her own psycho-sexual collapse.

    This movie won't be everyone's choice for an evening with the kids. It's a serious, disturbing film for adults that looks grimly at repressed feelings and emotional self destruction. For the grownups, it might put you off sado-masochism for a few days. It's a first-rate film.

    Isabelle Huppert is one of my favorite actors. Like Depardieu, she has no apparent screen vanity; she'll do what it takes for the role. She also has the rare ability to express deep, unsettling feelings with an absolute economy of expression. She is incredible in this film.

    I'm happy to have the disc, but to tell you the truth I'm not sure how many more times I'll watch it.

    The DVD transfer is excellent, the audio is first rate, and the English subtitles are easy to follow....more info

  • if you ever thought of studying music...!
    I spent 4 years at a music conservatory. In my experience it was a hostile, competitive environment that stiffles creativity and love of music. My teacher for my principal instrument was as cold, abrupt, unfeeling, and abusive as the character brilliantly potrayed by Isabelle Huppert. Watching this film made me feel like I was right back there and left me feeling nauseated that I had spent so much of my life in such an environment.
    I got my degree and quit music - this film helped me remember why.
    Five stars for realism....more info
  • Poetic, powerful, and disturbing
    The Piano Teacher is a beautifully acted, wonderfully cinematic, and deeply disturbing masterpiece. It is quite unlike any other motion picture experience I have ever had.

    Isabelle Hubert is a brilliant actress and she absolutely shines in her role as a psychotic piano teacher who can't get what she wants, so goes out to ruin the life of others. The movie reveals this slowly and beautifully. I was impressed that there was no attempt at pop psychology or mediocre explanations that you would expect in a Hollywood melodrama with similar subject matter. The film is done in a simple, elegant, and gut-wrentching style, sure to fascinate and disturb, even if the film is hated in the end. Also worth mentioning is that Hubert's troubled but sympathetic character lives with her mother, in what has to be one of the most chilling mother/child relationships since PSYCHO.

    This is an exceptional film, thought-provoking, powerful, and strangely moving. It is not for those who can't face the dark side of human nature. It's far from being a life affirming "feel good" movie; it's a movie that is difficult to watch and raises plenty of questions. If the difficult subject matter of 'Irreversible' interested you, then this is your kind of movie. I enjoyed it immensely, as uncomfortable as I was watching it, and consider it a worthwhile, rewarding experience.

    The film has a haunting and disturbing finale, and is not always easy to digest, and therefore, it is not for all tastes. For fans of French or art-house cinema, this is definitely your cup of tea.

    Note: Stay away from the R-rated version, which goes so far as to blur out the video images in a porn shop.

    Grade A....more info

  • A Comercial Success to say the Very Least
    I entirely agree with the previous reviewers. The actors and actresses are of the best choice. The characters are so well portrayed and the settings are so well depicted. The overall effects are quite convincing. It's defintely shocking and at least commercially this film is a success.

    The choice of Schubert's music at least serves two points. First, Schubert's music is one of the saddest in the history of music, it's the music of the loniest pilgrim. Second, contrary to Beethoven's music, which is so clear and straight forward, the change of moods in Schubert's music is so sudden and so abundant and that it is often difficult to follow, so are the turns and twists in this story.

    A general survey of the life of the pianists would making this story more convincing. An American critized Kissin for knowing nothing but playing on the piano from day to night all his life; Glenn gould shut himself up in front of the piano since or before his pre-teens; Allica de Larrocha's mother begged her daughter to "live her life" (Allica's word), instead of sacrifying it to the piano; MargaretArgerich's "fiance" (Margaret's own word) was the piano... The life of a musician destined to become a concert pianist could be very lonely ( and boring )to the point of abnormality unless you really love it, or unless you can balance it with sufficient chamber music or the like. Yet, competition is so keen that 99 concert pianists out of a hundred would advise against a cereer of a concert pianist unless he is exceptionally talented.

    Obviously the heroine here, despite her sacrifice, didn't make it as a concert pianist. Her mother, so possessive and dominating, openly urged her to earn more money in order to buy a flat. Furthermore, the family has a history of mental problem; and her mother sharing the bed with her even when she was forty something... Needless to say, this case is by no means a norm yet it is not at all unconvincing.

    What is controversial though is the deliberate distortion of the sound of all music, be it's piano or vocal music, so that there is NO MUSIC LEFT AT ALL. Perhaps this serves the main theme of the story better, delivering a greater impact upon the audience. And yet on the other hand, one also wonders if that is really necessary, whether a mix of bitteress & sweetness would be more impressing....more info

  • A Commercial Success to Say the Very Least
    I entirely agree with the previous reviewers. The actors and actresses are of the best choice. The characters are so well portrayed and the settings are so well depicted. The overall effects are quite convincing. It's defintely shocking and at least commercially this film is a success.

    The choice of Schubert's music at least serves two points. First, Schubert's music is one of the saddest in the history of music, it's the music of the loniest pilgrim. Second, contrary to Beethoven's music, which is so clear and straight forward, the changes of moods in Schubert's music are so sudden and so abundant and that it is often difficult to follow, and so are the turns and twists in this story.

    A general survey of the life of the pianists would making this story more convincing. An American critized Kissin for knowing nothing but playing on the piano from day to night all his life; Glenn Gould shut himself up in front of the piano since and before his pre-teens; Allica de Larrocha's mother begged her daughter to "live her life" (Allica's word), instead of sacrifying it to the piano; MargaretvArgerich's "fiance" (Margaret's own word) was the piano. The life of a musician destined to become a concert pianist could be very lonely ( and boring )to the point of abnormality unless you really enjoy it, or unless you can balance it with sufficient chamber music or the like. Yet, competition is so keen that 99 concert pianists out of a hundred would advise against a cereer of a concert pianist unless one is exceptionally talented.

    Obviously the heroine here as "a piano teacher", despite her sacrifice, didn't quite make it as a concert pianist. Her mother, so possessive and dominating, furiously urged her to earn more money to buy a flat etc. Furthermore, the family has a history of mental problem; and her mother sharing the bed with her even when she was forty something. Needless to say, this case is by no means a norm yet it is not at all unconvincing. And having been to the concert hall where this film was shot, it appears to me strikingly sad and true.

    What is controversial though is the deliberate distortion of the sound of all music, be it's piano or vocal music, so that there is NO MUSIC LEFT AT ALL, ONLY NOISES. Perhaps this serves the main theme of the story better, delivering a greater impact upon the audience. And yet on the other hand, one also wonders if that is really necessary, whether a mix of bitteress & sweetness would be more impressing....more info
  • The phenomenal Isabelle Huppert
    Isabelle Huppert gives one of the greatest performances by an actress or actor that I have ever seen. A very dark film that is unflinching in its look at isolation and the deepest sexual desires of its characters, the plot is highly original and is supplemented with superb acting by the two leads. Certainly this is not a film for the average person, but for the filmgoer who appreciates a brutal, honest look at the more controversial psychological issues that mainstream Hollywood ignores. Things aren't always as they may seem on the surface. A+. 10/10....more info
  • Spending time with a tortured soul.
    I like dark movies. This movie. Is a dark movie. I may have given the review just 3 stars but it is only for the many, many questions I had at the end of the film. The one thing I have trouble understanding is the true reason of why the piano teacher (Isabelle Huppert) is the way she is. You can say out of nowhere, oh she was molested or raped when she was young or something but the movie never ever shows any flashbacks or reveal any true thoughts or opinions of her nature from her own point of view. The good job done by this movie is making the viewer a 'voyeur' into this woman's situation as she struggles with a man and her own mother. Another good reason why I liked the film is because of the ending. I just remember feeling so cold and depressed from the ending becuase it was something that I did not expect to happen at all. Personally this movie gave me a jilt and if your into ever watching foreign films than I recommend The Piano Teacher....more info
  • Save your money.
    I am a big fan of foreign movies. When I read read the reviews listed here, I decided to see this movie before buying the DVD. Thank goodness. The storyline was terrible....more info
  • pathetic
    Being a fan of Isabelle Huppert's work, I expected something more from this film. The only good thing about this film, as a matter of fact, was Huppert's performance of a woman coming undone. She lives her relatively closed (and closely monitored by her live-in mother) life as a piano teacher, and everything seems stern, put together (except for this bizarre relationship with her mother, who controls everything). And then Huppert's much-younger student begins to pursue her. By the time Huppert succumbs, she is unraveling. At the same time, the movie unravels with her....more info