Benoit Magimel & Isabelle Huppert in a scene from the film
I saw this film two weeks ago but I have not known how to even begin reviewing this film. I have scribbled down so many observations and analysis' I made about it in my journal, but have just chosen to read over them again and again but never actually begin this post. So here I am starting this not knowing what will come next but will attempt to tackle it regardless.
The Piano Teacher comes from genius director Michael Haneke. I have been intrigued by this man since viewing a remake of his own film, Funny Games, (I have recently purchased the original so I can see how different they are, am very much looking forward to it!) which disturbed me but intrigued me so much and left me in awe. The Piano Teacher, managed to get a similar response from me.
The Piano Teacher tells the story of pianist, Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert) who leads a life as a piano teacher and lives with her mother. Deep down Erika has a sick mind when it comes to sex and it's when she meets piano student, Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel - love that name by the way) who pursues her, that her sick fantasies are revealed. Huppert's character is sad and disturbing and as a viewer you don't know whether to feel sorry for her or judge her.
Haneke's disturbing themes are thought provoking rather than just being there for the sole purpose of disturbing you. It seems his main intentions aren't to confront and disturb you but to rather slap you in the face. It's as if he is saying; we always expect a happy resolution at the end of a film but instead we must be confronted with reality. Its disturbing themes are intelligent, it's as if Haneke has a well educated background and is intent on showing you the truth through ways we have never seen in other films.
There's no kidding though, some scenes are quite confronting and not at all for those who prefer Disney classics or a Steve Martin movie. I strongly recommend this to those of you who are fans of Harmony Korine or Larry Clark. It's a similar kind of vibe but dedicated to an older market perhaps...