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The Piano Teacher (2001)

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, Benoît Magimel

The tender Michael Haneke of Amour? Don't look for him here. The Piano Teacher, an adaptation of Elfriede Jelinek's novel of the same name, has a set-up that horror fans should find appealing. A tightly wound piano teacher, Erika (Isabelle Huppert), lives with her possessive, abusive mother (Annie Girardot). Because of mom's chokehold on her life, not limited to curfews and dress codes, Erika has an unhealthy relationship with sex. It's not limited to self-mutilation and sniffing semen-filled tissues discarded at the viewing booths of a porno shop. And then Erika finds herself pursued by a young man (also, a pig) who wants to study with her.

Rough going but rewarding because of Huppert's honest performance and Haneke's devilish dressing down of classical music, usually regarded as one of civilizatin's high points, but here, not so much.

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