Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.
Jean, a farm lad, wants to escape his silent father; he runs to Paris to his older brother, Georges, who's away covering the war in Kosovo. Angry, he throws a bag of half-eaten pastry into ... See full summary »
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A 14-year-old video enthusiast is so caught up in film fantasy that he can no longer relate to the real world, to such an extent that he commits murder and records an on-camera confession for his parents.
A European family who plan on escaping to Australia, seem caught up in their daily routine, only troubled by minor incidents. However, behind their apparent calm and repetitive existence, they are actually planning something sinister.
Erika Kohut is a pianist, teaching music. Schubert and Schumann are her forte, but she's not quite at concert level. She's approaching middle age, living with her mother who is domineering then submissive; Erika is a victim then combative. With her students she is severe. She visits a sex shop to watch DVDs; she walks a drive-in theater to stare at couples having sex. Walter is a self-assured student with some musical talent; he auditions for her class and is forthright in his attraction to her. She responds coldly then demands he let her lead. Next she changes the game with a letter, inviting him into her fantasies. How will he respond; how does sex have power over our other faculties? Written by
Isabelle Huppert really played the piano in the film. She had studied piano for 12 years. As preparation for her role as a piano teacher, she resumed practicing a year before the film was started. See more »
If you want to know how messed up people can get - not why but mostly the end result - this is a film for you. Otherwise, stand clear, for this is just a portrait of a really, really sick person that will leave a hole in your soul. Yes, we see how controlling the piano teacher's mother can be and so get some inkling of the roots of her depravity, but we know nothing of the teacher's history. So it's not a study of how someone becomes sado-masochistic which might have made this a more interesting psychological study.
How depraved can human beings get and do we really care? Movies with psychopaths or psychotics as main characters (unless they're really about those who respond to the madness) boil down to portraits of chaos and human depravity which is ubiquitous in our universe. Who needs 'art' to portray it? I'd rather watch a film that makes the audience think about something of value, even if it takes place on the wrong side of an ethical dilemma. La Pianiste isn't art nor entertainment but perverse voyeurism.
32 of 45 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?