The Piano Teacher (18)

Film

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Time Out says

Haneke's adaptation of a novel by Elfriede Jelinek may be shot, edited and performed rather more conventionally than most of his work, but in many ways it's no less confrontational or transgressive than, say, The Seventh Continent or Funny Games. If the latter was a chaste but provocative variation on the violent thriller, this puts the porn movie through much the same paces, refusing to provide explicit titillation even as it explores the psychopathology of a professor of music, touching 40 but still so oppressed by her tyrannical mother, with whom she still lives, and by the disciplines of her vocation, that her only acquaintance with emotion and eroticism comes from watching porn. Then, into her sad life comes a young student, who falls for her. No conventional redemption ensues, as the pair slide slowly but inexorably into a relationship so painfully twisted it would be implausible, were it not for Haneke's rigorous intelligence and Huppert's controlled and courageous performance. Ambitious, profoundly articulate, and despite its avoidance of sentimentality and sermonising, very compassionate.
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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

2001

Duration:

130 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

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Technoguy

Haneke or Jelinek,Erika or Huppert,Strauss or sex.Which ever you think is the uppermost in any of these pairings will decide what you think of this film.We are presented with a notoriously dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship based on domination-subjugation centred on the mother's needs.She controls her daughter's life like a prison officer,where there is piano playing on the timetable.the mother invades her daughter's space,controlling her every movement so that she can only earn money as a Piano Teacher so they can move into a bigger flat.Erika's(Huppert's) only escape from this cruel perfectionism of the great Austrian composers is sadomasochism and voyeuristic perversity: maleporn,sniffing semen-soaked tissues, urinating by young lover's cars,self-mutilation.All this in place of natural relations of a loving kind,lack of connection to other women and lack of knowledge of her own body.Her father's in a mental institution.Now Haneke breaks through this carapace of routine and distortion by introducing a top Euro art actress(Huppert) into the role.He also integrates Strauss and Schubert musical pieces into the drama.What he loses from the linguistically spectacular novel(a lot) he makes up for in the music with background analysis by Erika.So the suffering and control of great music set the template for what Erika is lokking for in sex.She meets Walter,who enters through the musical door of her prison cell as a young novice who fancies her enough aand sees her as a conquest.He doesn't know what he's let himself in for: her lists of demands of what she perversely wants him to do to her.This disgusts him but she keeps him hanging on.He thinks that if he beats her up and rapes her he's doing what she wants.No-just the opposite.She doesn't realise that she cannot control the great chaos of sex.All her musical training has brought her self loathing and torture.She regains control at the end by stabbing herself and going back to 'life' with mother. The film although precise and beautifully filmed leaves a feeling of incompleteness.You feel somehow Huppert's dare in taking and doing the role becomes a parade of perversities of 'the only actress who could do this role'.A kind of exploitation of the viewer and sense of a highly-wrought contrivance.

Technoguy

Haneke or Jelinek,Erika or Huppert,Strauss or sex.Which ever you think is the uppermost in any of these pairings will decide what you think of this film.We are presented with a notoriously dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship based on domination-subjugation centred on the mother's needs.She controls her daughter's life like a prison officer,where there is piano playing on the timetable.the mother invades her daughter's space,controlling her every movement so that she can only earn money as a Piano Teacher so they can move into a bigger flat.Erika's(Huppert's) only escape from this cruel perfectionism of the great Austrian composers is sadomasochism and voyeuristic perversity: maleporn,sniffing semen-soaked tissues, urinating by young lover's cars,self-mutilation.All this in place of natural relations of a loving kind,lack of connection to other women and lack of knowledge of her own body.Her father's in a mental institution.Now Haneke breaks through this carapace of routine and distortion by introducing a top Euro art actress(Huppert) into the role.He also integrates Strauss and Schubert musical pieces into the drama.What he loses from the linguistically spectacular novel(a lot) he makes up for in the music with background analysis by Erika.So the suffering and control of great music set the template for what Erika is lokking for in sex.She meets Walter,who enters through the musical door of her prison cell as a young novice who fancies her enough aand sees her as a conquest.He doesn't know what he's let himself in for: her lists of demands of what she perversely wants him to do to her.This disgusts him but she keeps him hanging on.He thinks that if he beats her up and rapes her he's doing what she wants.No-just the opposite.She doesn't realise that she cannot control the great chaos of sex.All her musical training has brought her self loathing and torture.She regains control at the end by stabbing herself and going back to 'life' with mother. The film although precise and beautifully filmed leaves a feeling of incompleteness.You feel somehow Huppert's dare in taking and doing the role becomes a parade of perversities of 'the only actress who could do this role'.A kind of exploitation of the viewer and sense of a highly-wrought contrivance.

usman khawaja

PLAYING THE PERVERTED PASSION OF PORNOGRAPHY ONA PIANO - life is a natural gift and art is an imitation of life ,it is at best a humanist communication of that imitation to be perceived as an imitation of nature ,as far as music is concerned it is natural as the two are not to be confused with art itself ,music and schubert are presented in the dual persona of the teacher who is coldly intellectual and a perverse voyeur in private ,the right of privacy is inviolable and as such an artist has the right to perceive out of the private life of his character,in this case a sexually repressed woman who is a musical genius ,she fantasises about sex in a pornographic milieu ,this is a satire on sadomasochism as a direct consequence of being borne out of pornographic celebration of perversion. The movie is great not because the performances of Huppert as the paradoxically real woman intellectual being pursued obsessively by a charming student infatuated by her talent as Majimel are outstanding but rather because of the distinction it makes between the fact that nature ceases to be reality as soon as it is rendered into an art media . the moment you indulge in an artistic maneouvre you enter a different domain ,a replication of life itself while that can be glorious but it can never be the same . nature and life never change but art does ,as it is a human perception . This is the primary reason why piano teacher is great because it observes the auto- biography of an austrian author through the cerebral lens of cinema without taking sides between the 2 main characters who are indulging themselves in a controlled manner to their weird passions ,the evolution of majimel from an infatuated youth to a violent rapist is natural as he is a natural animal under his cloak of civility and the woman provkes and awakes that natural beast. the consequences are shown without any graphic sex in a very cold manner devoid of sexual gratification , the man fully aware of his action informs the woman not to report the event,yet he appears totally non-chalant in the next sequence in a public pretense as if nothing transpired ,the woman thus mutilates herself and leaves the music hall,inferred as perceived ,is she dead or is she gone to a porn shop to gratify herself , the conundrum has been left by the artist for the audience to conclude as haneke is too wise to judge or conclude for his audience ,and that is what makes his cinema great art as he observes life without trying to make a stylish circus out of it which must tie all the ends in the way mediocre artists fulfill their perfectionist styles ,as perfection is unattainable in art ,it only exists in nature itself and art is only a perception or imitation of nature . great cinema indeed by any definition -art or stylish reality ,it is left for us to decide .

usman khawaja

PLAYING THE PERVERTED PASSION OF PORNOGRAPHY ONA PIANO - life is a natural gift and art is an imitation of life ,it is at best a humanist communication of that imitation to be perceived as an imitation of nature ,as far as music is concerned it is natural as the two are not to be confused with art itself ,music and schubert are presented in the dual persona of the teacher who is coldly intellectual and a perverse voyeur in private ,the right of privacy is inviolable and as such an artist has the right to perceive out of the private life of his character,in this case a sexually repressed woman who is a musical genius ,she fantasises about sex in a pornographic milieu ,this is a satire on sadomasochism as a direct consequence of being borne out of pornographic celebration of perversion. The movie is great not because the performances of Huppert as the paradoxically real woman intellectual being pursued obsessively by a charming student infatuated by her talent as Majimel are outstanding but rather because of the distinction it makes between the fact that nature ceases to be reality as soon as it is rendered into an art media . the moment you indulge in an artistic maneouvre you enter a different domain ,a replication of life itself while that can be glorious but it can never be the same . nature and life never change but art does ,as it is a human perception . This is the primary reason why piano teacher is great because it observes the auto- biography of an austrian author through the cerebral lens of cinema without taking sides between the 2 main characters who are indulging themselves in a controlled manner to their weird passions ,the evolution of majimel from an infatuated youth to a violent rapist is natural as he is a natural animal under his cloak of civility and the woman provkes and awakes that natural beast. the consequences are shown without any graphic sex in a very cold manner devoid of sexual gratification , the man fully aware of his action informs the woman not to report the event,yet he appears totally non-chalant in the next sequence in a public pretense as if nothing transpired ,the woman thus mutilates herself and leaves the music hall,inferred as perceived ,is she dead or is she gone to a porn shop to gratify herself , the conundrum has been left by the artist for the audience to conclude as haneke is too wise to judge or conclude for his audience ,and that is what makes his cinema great art as he observes life without trying to make a stylish circus out of it which must tie all the ends in the way mediocre artists fulfill their perfectionist styles ,as perfection is unattainable in art ,it only exists in nature itself and art is only a perception or imitation of nature . great cinema indeed by any definition -art or stylish reality ,it is left for us to decide .