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The Piano Teacher (2001)
"La pianiste" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 31,193 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 230 user | 122 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 20 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Mrs. Schober
Udo Samel ...
Dr. George Blonskij
Anna Sigalevitch ...
Anna Schober
Cornelia Köndgen ...
Mme Gerda Blonskij
Thomas Weinhappel ...
Baritone
Georg Friedrich ...
Man in drive-in
Philipp Heiss ...
Naprawnik
William Mang ...
Teacher
Rudolf Melichar ...
Director
Michael Schottenberg ...
Teacher
Gabriele Schuchter ...
Margot
...
Singing teacher
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for aberrant sexuality including violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 September 2001 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Piano Teacher  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

€3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$29,671 (USA) (29 March 2002)

Gross:

$1,900,282 (USA) (8 November 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
The Mother: Good evening, child.
Erika Kohut: Evening, mama.
The Mother: [sarcastically] Home already? I'm so happy.
Erika Kohut: I'm going.
The Mother: Not so fast.
Erika Kohut: Please. Leave me be. I'm tired.
The Mother: I can quite believe it. Your last pupil left 3 hours ago. Might I know where you've been all this time?
Erika Kohut: [trying to go to her room] Please.
The Mother: No, you don't. Not until you tell me.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata in A Major, D.959
Franz Schubert
See more »

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User Reviews

Powerful and thought provoking, 'The Piano Teacher' features a superb performance from Isabelle Huppert
20 May 2004 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

'The Piano Teacher' is the third Haneke movie I've seen. I didn't like the other two ('Funny Games' I thought was a cop out and 'Code Unknown' a bore) so I expected little from this one. However I was wrong to prejudge it. It's a very good movie, powerful, thought provoking and features a superb performance from Isabelle Huppert. She plays a Erika Kohut, a brilliant but highly repressed pianist. Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel) is a young man who is very sure of himself who attempts to seduce her. The thing is she is a deeply disturbed individual and he can't cope when her true nature is uncovered. I don't want to go into any great detail about Erika or her mental state. The movie reveals this slowly and beautifully. I was impressed that there was no attempt at pop psychology or pat explanations that you would expect in a Hollywood melodrama with similar subject matter. Huppert is extraordinary throughout. I can't think of many contemporary Hollywood actresses who could have played this role as convincingly. 'The Piano Teacher' is not for those who can't face the dark side of human nature. It's far from being a life affirming "feel good" movie. If the difficult subject matter of 'Irreversible' or 'The War Zone' interested you then this is your kind of movie. I can't say I "enjoyed" it, but it was a worthwhile, rewarding experience and how often do you get to say that these days?


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