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Summary: Erika (Huppert) is a piano teacher at a prestigious music school in Vienna. In her early forties and single, she lives with her overprotective and controlling mother (Girardot). Lonely and alienated, Erika finds solace by visiting sex shops and experimenting with masochism. (Kino International)
A deliberately paced yet captivating depiction of sexual frustration that won me over thanks to Haneke's patient direction and Huppert's committed performance. Still, although I was engrossed by the proceedings, the ending (classic Haneke) made me doubt the film's reason for existing. Despite a compelling story arc, the purpose of "La Pianiste" is ultimately too ambiguous -if it really does have a purpose- for me to care too much for it by the end.
I don't find La Pianiste to be a masterpiece, but it succeeded in making me feel a myriad of emotions and desires. Often I felt disturbed, disgusted, awkward. While in an ordinary film this would mean I would alienate myself from the character, here Haneke managed to keep me wanting more and feeling some of the desires Erika also had.
It's definitely disturbing and unsettling, but Haneke's film manages to be a compelling and sincere psychological exploration without feeling exploitative or immature. Huppert's performance is exceptionally nuanced and riveting.
I like the central idea of a sniffy, pretentious musical teacher being into embarrassing pornography. Except it's not even embarrassing pornography, it's awful S&M, sometimes self-inflicted. Christ, Huppert's character is a mess. However, having said all that, though it makes me uncomfortable, I didn't get as much from it as I might usually do from a Haneke.
What happens when a woman confronts her illicit desires with society and tries, in desperation, to free herself from various systems of control? Well, according to a few people here on criticker: "Crazy bitch gets what she wants" - No, she doesn't get what she wants. She gets raped mercilessly. PSA: Rape is bad. I can understand a distaste for Haneke, but the source material here is so strong it elevates itself above the rest of his work. It's a great adaptation. Huppert is amazing.
Wow, this is one sick film - I feel like a freak just for having watched it in its entirety. This is the most provoking film I've seen in a while - and I've been watching avant-garde films on childbirth starring...placenta. I thought I would have the stomach for something like this by now but...no. no no no.
I don't think this is a particularly strong film by Haneke, especially in comparison to say The White Ribbon or Amour. It felt like a contrived move to pair the already shocking scenes with beautiful and lilting classical music for added shock value. I just found the move lacking subtlety and degrading, which hampers any true character development. I felt like Alex from A Clockwork Orange and this being the film to destroy my love of Schubert, much like his love for Beethoven.