Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 12, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Piano Teacher

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
130 minutes
Wide Release Date
03/29/02
performer
Annie Giradot, Isabelle Huppert, Benoit Magimel
director
Michael Haneke
distributor
Kino International
author
Michael Haneke
genre
Drama

We gave it a B

Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, who specializes in the unnerving and disturbing, finds simpatico source material in a novel by Elfriede Jelinek about Erika (Isabelle Huppert), a hard, taut, unmarried music teacher who bullies her students at the Vienna Conservatory, comes home to a claustrophobic, sadomasochistic relationship with her old mother (Annie Girardot), and gets off on porn, peeping, and self-mutilation. And that’s before she meets Walter (Benoit Magimel), a bold younger student who plugs into her electric current of crazy. Those who would follow Haneke on his creepy explorations in The Piano Teacher are rewarded by brutal, committed performances from Huppert and Magimel.

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