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The Piano Teacher (2001)

La pianiste (original title)
A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher.

Director:

Michael Haneke

Writers:

Michael Haneke, Elfriede Jelinek (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
2,557 ( 196)

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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 21 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 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 | Music

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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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:

ATS 70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,236,319 (France), 7 September 2001

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,671, 31 March 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,900,282, 10 November 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First movie wherein Michael Haneke wrote a screenplay based on a book as opposed to using his own material 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 »

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 »

Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Extremes (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

"Beauty" isn't necessarily "pretty."
4 April 2004 | by skytommSee all my reviews

Definitely NOT for the faint-of-heart or for those seeking passive entertainment, this film is a masterpiece of portraiture of a highly talented and disturbed artist – a perfect illustration of the idea that genius is considered but a short step from insanity.

It has been many months since I viewed this film, and I find myself turning the film over in my head quite often. That – to me – is the mark of a well-done film – or any work of art, for that matter.

I have never since seen a prodigiously talented performer without wondering what their day-to-day life and relationships must be like. This film stayed with me despite my revulsion to its "ugliness" – the discomfiture it engenders.

Highly recommended!


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