The Piano Teacher (18)
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Time Out saysHaneke'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.