What To Rent: The Piano Teacher
Written by Bwog Staff
In which film savant Iggy Cortez recommends we find our inner music-lover.
Micheal Haneke’s Caché was probably last year’s best film, an engaging anti-thriller about repressed personal and national guilt. However, it was not the first time Haneke had confronted his audience with universal ethical dilemmas. In movies such as Funny Games and Code Inconnu, Haneke had been experimenting with violence against the spectator, criticizing our tendencies to be complicit with the director’s manipulations and our passive absorption in narrative. But it is with his excellent 2000 film, The Piano Teacher, that these interrogations began to develop more maturely. Starring the exceptional actress, Isabelle Huppert, in a performance that makes any acting before it seem like amateur mimicry (I exaggerate, naturally) and based on the novel of Nobel Laureate Elfriede Jelinek, The Piano Teacher was a gripping and sadistic exploration of perversity, the idealist’s latent capacity for violence and the refusal of seduction.
Erica Kohut (Huppert) is a bitter, frigid piano teacher at a conservatory in
The film is an interesting choice to rent among friends. I have see it several times in theaters and on DVD, and reactions have ranged from vomiting to laughter (which, arguably, can both be reduced to attempts at distancing oneself from the film’s content) to enthusiasm and anger, but few disagree that Huppert’s performance will actively change your life.
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