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Customer Review

28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, disturbing, but ultimately worthwhile., 2 May 2002
This review is from: The Piano Teacher [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Michael Haneke is a director of incredible power. Those who have seen his previous well known efforts (Benny's Video, and Funny Games) will have some idea what to expect from one of the few directors who tackles the subjects of violence in cinema seriously. Whilst the latter two examples focused on violence and its damaging effect on a society desensitised, here, with the Piano Teacher, Haneke explores themes and subjects that neither could possibly prepare you for.
The film is essentially an examination upon the notions of sexual perversity, oppression, and the constant battle for power between the sexes. To say more would only diminish the power of Haneke's storytelling which, as seen in his previous films, unfolds in a pseudo-documentary style of unflinching camera angles. There is no showboating from Haneke, he is not interested in flash cuts, or special effects. The camera is merely an observer, keeping the action (although incredibly brutal in parts) hidden from the audience. Everything shocking happens just out of view, or obstructed. The framing is exceptional. But for all its worth, praise must be given to its cast. Particularly Huppert who bares all in her performance which cries out for comfort and sympathy while also distancing herself from us with the extreme side of her perversions. It is performances like hers that deserve to be awarded and commended, brave unflinching performances in films which tackle uncomfortable topics. This is not a film for the light hearted. However, watched in the right atmosphere the intense emotional journey of "The Piano Teacher" will stick with you forever.
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