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
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 »
Isabelle Huppert must be one of the greatest actresses of her or any other generation. "La Pianiste" truly confirms it. As if that wasn't enough, Annie Girardot plays her mother and Annie Girardot is one of the greatest actresses of her or any other generation. So, as you may well imagine, those pieces of casting are worth the horror we're put through. Isabelle and Annie play characters we've never seen before on the screen. A mother and daughter yes but with such virulent fearlessness that sometimes I was unable even to blink or to breath. Personally, I don't believe in the director's intentions, I don't believe they (the intentions that is) go beyond the shocking anecdote and the ending made me scream with frustration but I was riveted by the story written in the face of the sensational Huppert and the fierceness of Girardot's strength. I highly recommend it to cinema lovers anywhere and to the collectors of great performances like me, you can't afford to miss "La Pianiste"
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