894 The Piano Teacher

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

894 The Piano Teacher

#1 Post by swo17 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:52 pm

The Piano Teacher

Image Image

Academy Award–winning Austrian director Michael Haneke shifted his focus from the social to the psychological for this riveting study of female sexuality and the dynamics of control, an adaptation of a controversial 1983 novel by Elfriede Jelinek. Haneke finds his match in Isabelle Huppert, who delivers an icy but quietly seething performance as Erika, a middle-aged piano professor at a Viennese conservatory who lives with her mother, in a claustrophobically codependent relationship. Severely repressed, she satisfies her masochistic urges only voyeuristically until she meets Walter (Benoît Magimel), a young student whose desire for Erika leads to a destructive infatuation that upsets the careful equilibrium of her life. A critical breakthrough for Haneke, The Piano Teacher—which won the Grand Prix as well as dual acting awards for its stars at Cannes—is a formalist masterwork that remains a shocking sensation.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

• New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Michael Haneke, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New interview with Haneke
• New interview with actor Isabelle Huppert
• Selected-scene commentary from 2002 featuring Huppert
• Behind-the-scenes footage of a postsync session for the film featuring Haneke and Huppert
• Trailer
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by scholar Moira Weigel

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:57 pm

No Zizek no sale

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#3 Post by knives » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:03 pm

I assume it will be the uncut version, but is there any official indication?

User avatar
Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#4 Post by Big Ben » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:05 pm

For whatever reason this film just never worked for me. It just feels "off" to me. I don't know if this opinion is shared by other members of the board but I remember individuals on old film boards praising it like it was the second coming of Christ.

User avatar
rohmerin
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:36 am
Location: Spain

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#5 Post by rohmerin » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:42 pm

The only French language movie made by Haneke that works for me. Terrific in all senses, including the hateful Huppert who is superb.
I rewatched two weeks ago and it's hipnotical on its hard auto - degradation. After my shock on its initial release when I saw it in Madrid, I could enjoy it now: complex sexuality meets self represion and unhappiness. That dirty post Freud Vienna (I cant stand Austrians) is described as I saw them.

Spanish DVD is rubbish but my French is not fluent enough. Merde!

JabbaTheSlut
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:37 am
Location: Down there

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#6 Post by JabbaTheSlut » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:47 pm

Yes! Haneke's best film.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#7 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:47 pm

Great news! This is a very dark film about the desire to be 'used' and the harsh realities of that actually happening as we watch the main character who wields that cruel power of holding the future of her pupils in her hands, whilst also being dominated domestically by her own mother. Also of someone only being able to live vicariously through the experience and expertise (and desires) of others, something which seems to tie Erika here in with the camera wielding protagonists of a number of Haneke's other films, including that sense of moving from being on the passive audience member's side of the screen towards starting to actively participate and manipulate the circumstances of the 'storyline production' of their lives. That's likely the reason for the early explicit scene of Erika's visit to the porno film booth before eventually building up the courage (and equipment!) to test things out for real!

I've started to also think of it as being sort of a perverse story about parents living vicariously through their children (thwarted desires getting revived/dashed through their children), with the final section being a kind of brutal table turning moment. And that kind of generational conflict, betrayal (or at least suspicion and miscommunication between parties as to the different things they want out of life!) is also a major Haneke theme.

I'm also fascinated by that really difficult sadomasochistic relationship between the teacher and her pupil. Is it possible to be submissive whilst also retaining full control? Can you want the excitement of having power taken from you and be dominated whilst also wanting to orchestrate the exact scenario and equipment that will be used in your domination? Is organising the circumstances of your own assault the ultimate act of self-hatred and the only way to have an 'acceptable' sexual experience (where you're just the passive victim of some man's forced desires, instead of someone with your own 'unacceptable' needs. Its an incredibly disturbing yet weirdly moving scene, especially seeing the main character's reactions to what she is going through) whilst being so under the eye of your parents, even if your mother is still haunting the edges of the frame? And has that experience made the central character even more withdrawn, as if now that the darkest desires have actually taken place they still haven't liberated her from her prison? And life goes on, numbed against all pain and needing ever deeper marks inflicted just to feel anything at all.

I'd also add that this has an excellent small role for Susanne Lothar (previously the mother in the original Funny Games) as a parent of one of Huppert's aspiring pupils. Lothar had that amazing haunted look that Haneke put to great use in The Castle, Funny Games, here and later in The White Ribbon too. (Though another favourite Susanne Lothar performance is in the short film from 2001, To Have And To Hold, in which she plays a woman trapped post-car crash in the middle of nowhere with her husband holding her wrist in a death grip and has to work out a way to escape. It feels a bit in the vein of Stephen King's Gerald's Game story)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:07 pm, edited 11 times in total.

User avatar
CSM126
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Contact:

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#8 Post by CSM126 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:02 pm

Big Ben wrote:For whatever reason this film just never worked for me. It just feels "off" to me. I don't know if this opinion is shared by other members of the board but I remember individuals on old film boards praising it like it was the second coming of Christ.
I found it to be the brutally dimwitted product of a brutally dimwitted filmmaker who thinks the most blunt, obvious metaphors are somehow profound and artistic, but then again I feel that way about every Haneke film I've ever watched. I guess it's not as humiliatingly bad as Funny Games US, but that's damning with faint praise.

User avatar
Malickite
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:47 pm
Location: United States

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#9 Post by Malickite » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:53 pm

"New, restored 2K digital transfer" changed to "New, restored high-definition digital transfer"

It seems these new "Kino" titles are being rushed out.

User avatar
Ribs
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:14 pm

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#10 Post by Ribs » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:33 pm

Certainly seems to be a generous definition of "rushed."

User avatar
Never Cursed
Such is life on board the Redoutable
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:22 am

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#11 Post by Never Cursed » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:08 pm


User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#12 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:23 pm

Still doesn’t shed any more light on the source of the restoration - one would hope this info is in the booklet, at least

User avatar
cdnchris
Site Admin
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#13 Post by cdnchris » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:46 pm

Notes say: "Approved by director Michael Haneke, this new digital transfer was created in high definition on an ARRISCAN film scanner from the 35mm original camera negative at Listo in Vienna. The restoration was performed at Listo, andbthe color correction was supervised by Haneke."

I haven't watched it yet.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: 894 The Piano Teacher

#14 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:54 pm

Great to hear that it’s from the original negative at any rate. The Beaver caps look great.

Post Reply