Saturday, January 2, 2021

1165. La Pianiste

La Pianiste
The Piano Teacher
Directed by Michael Haneke

I read the book The Piano Teacher a couple of years ago. I plucked it off the shelf at a library because I thought it was going to be the novel version of The Piano. Oops.

Erika Kohut is a piano professor at a Vienna music conservatory. She lives with her domineering elderly mother, and is about as repressed as the day is long. She meets Walter Klemmer, a new student of the conservatory who is clearly attracted to her. However, her terms for having a sexual relationship with him are a little...unconventional.

The book was even stranger, but the director does a good job of capturing Erika's repression. This is not an easy novel to adapt to a movie, and Haneke, psycho that he is, does a good job of it. Of course, the characters are hardly what you would call relatable, so I have a little trouble connecting with the thing. Still, it never gets boring.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Isabelle Huppert played all her piano scenes herself.

Huppert's last scene required 52 takes.


  1. I made a similar mistake when I rented the movie many years ago, thinking I was about to watch a New Zealandic drama. This is something else.
    I did not like it much at the time, finding it rather disturbing. Later I was able to put words to it.
    Erika is really into her kink and it is described as almost exciting, but then instead of embracing her sexuality it is explained as a mental disorder. I get the suspicion that it is a male fantasy, but that Haneke then pulls back and gets shy. How real is her case then?
    Also she is matched with that poor guy who just wants vanilla sex and is totally unprepared for her sexuality. More repression, more guilt, everybody unhappy.
    I suppose social media was not a thing at the time, but I am certain she could have found a community who shared her inclinations so she could embrace it rather than fight it. This could have helped her understanding herself instead of this meltdown. Of course this would have been a very different movie, but I just felt so sorry for everyone involved.

    1. That's hilarious that it happened to you too. Yes, it's interesting that you could look at it in two ways. Is her kink the culprit of, how you phrased it, her meltdown, or did the meltdown happen because she was forced to repress her sexuality for so long?