7.5/10
55,129
254 user 161 critic

The Piano Teacher (2001)

La pianiste (original title)
Trailer
1:37 | Trailer
A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher.

Director:

Michael Haneke

Writers:

Michael Haneke, Elfriede Jelinek (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
3,224 ( 30)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Huppert ... Erika Kohut
Annie Girardot ... The Mother
Benoît Magimel ... Walter Klemmer
Susanne Lothar ... Mrs. Schober
Udo Samel ... Dr. George Blonskij
Anna Sigalevitch ... Anna Schober
Cornelia Köndgen ... Mme Gerda Blonskij
Thomas Weinhappel Thomas Weinhappel ... Baritone
Georg Friedrich ... Man in drive-in
Philipp Heiss Philipp Heiss ... Naprawnik
William Mang William Mang ... Teacher
Rudolf Melichar Rudolf Melichar ... Director
Michael Schottenberg Michael Schottenberg ... Teacher
Gabriele Schuchter Gabriele Schuchter ... Margot
Dieter Berner ... 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

Taglines:

Perversion at its wicked best!

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was released on blu-ray by the Criterion Collection in September 2017. It's the first edition of the movie to be released on Region A blu-ray with English subtitles. 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.
[...]
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Alternate Versions

The R-rated edition from Kino makes a number of changes and omissions, removing the shots of the hardcore peep booth footage viewed by Huppert's character in the mall, as well as optically pixellating pornographic images on magazine covers in the sex shop. In addition, this version completely removes the following two sequences: -Huppert's cutting sequence in the bathtub -Magimel taking Huppert to the ground and humping her at the hockey rink. In the latter case, the film awkwardly fades out and in again in quick succession, to elide the missing footage. See more »


Soundtracks

Piano Sonata in A Major, D.959
Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

 
Grim but excellent
10 September 2002 | by mcnallySee all my reviews

I saw this film at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival. La Pianiste reinforces the "Austrians=grim" thesis I'm formulating. Isabelle Huppert won a well-deserved Best Actress award at Cannes for her portrayal of a woman who, in her efforts to attain the artistic ideal, loses her humanity. Trapped by her talent, she suppresses her emotions and her sexuality until they can only be expressed in twisted and terrifying ways. When a younger student falls in love with her, our hopes rise, but are soon dashed by the realization that she cannot experience love the way others can. It is too late for her, and the film's final 30 harrowing minutes are, tellingly, devoid of the beautiful music that carried the first 90 minutes. The message seems to be that the music itself is not enough without the life and beauty it's describing.


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Details

Country:

Austria | France | Germany

Language:

French | German

Release Date:

5 September 2001 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Piano Teacher See more »

Filming Locations:

Austria See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

ATS70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,671, 31 March 2002

Gross USA:

$1,012,069

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,765,335
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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