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THE PIANO TEACHER

Austria / France, 2001 (MIFF 2001, International Panorama)

Director: Michael Haneke

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize, Best Actor and Best Actress. Cannes 2001.Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher is an audacious film. That it remains as effective as it does, can be attributed to Isabelle Huppert's utterly fearless performance.

Erika Kohut (Huppert) is a woman in her early 40s who leaches piano at a conservatory in Vienna by day and shares a bed with her domineering mother at night. Erikas unseen father is locked up in an asylum and her critical mother likes to keep her not-so-little girl on a very short leash. This doesn't prevent Erika from sneaking off to adult book stores where she watches hard-core peep shows. We have yet to touch on her weakness for sneaking through drive-in theatres spying on couples, not to mention having a thing for self-mutilation.

Enter Walter Klemmer, a young, cocky new student who's 'hot for teacher'. She ultimately succumbs to his advances-under her freaky terms. Their perverse little affair takes an inevitable plunge into a sadomasochistic abyss. "Huppert has met her match with Erika. Ifs an incredibly brave performance in a film that will likely generate ripples of controversy wherever it goes."—The Hollywood Reporter

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