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Erika Kohut is a piano professor at a Vienna music conservatory.

Although already in her forties, she

still lives in an apartment with her domineering mother; her father is a long-standing resident in a
psychiatric asylum.
The audience is gradually shown truths about Erika's private life. Behind her assured faade, she is
a woman whose sexual repression is manifested in a long list of paraphilia, including (but by no
means limited to) voyeurism and sadomasochistic fetishes such as sexual self-mutilation.
When Erika meets Walter Klemmer, a charming 17-year-old engineering student from a middle
class background, a mutual obsession develops. Even though she initially attempts to prevent
consistent contact and even tries to undermine his application to the conservatory, he eventually
becomes her pupil. Like her, he appreciates and is a gifted interpreter of Schumann and Schubert.
Erika destroys the musical prospects of an insecure but talented girl, Anna Schober, driven by her
jealousy of the girl's contact with Walterand also, perhaps, by her fears that Anna's life will mirror
her own. She does so by hiding shards of glass inside one of Anna's coat pockets, damaging her
right hand and ruining her aspirations to play at the forthcoming jubilee concert. Erika then pretends
to be sympathetic when Anna's mother asks for advice on her daughter's recuperation. (The sub-plot
of the pupil and her mother, mirroring the main relationship in the film, is absent in Jelinek's novel.) In
a moment ofdramatic irony, the girl's mother rhetorically asks Erika who could do something so evil.
Walter pursues Erika into a restroom immediately after she has secretly ruined her pupil's hand.
Walter passionately kisses Erika even though she is rebuffing him. Erika finally responds to his
passion, but insists on repeatedly controlling, humiliating and frustrating Walter.
Walter is increasingly insistent in his desire to start a sexual relationship with Erika, but Erika is only
willing if he will satisfy her masochistic fantasies, which repulse him. The film climaxes, however,
when he attacks her in her apartment in the fashion she let him know she desired, beating and then
raping her, outside her mother's bedroom door. He then leaves.
The next day, Erika takes a kitchen knife to the concert where she is scheduled to fill in for the
injured Anna. She delays going to the stage because she is desperate to see Walter, but Walter
enters cheerful and laughing with his family. Moments before the concert is due to start, Erika stabs
herself superficially in the shoulder and exits the concert hall into the street.


Isabelle Huppert as Erika Kohut

Benot Magimel as Walter Klemmer

Annie Girardot as The Mother

Susanne Lothar as Mrs. Schober

Udo Samel as Dr. Blonskij

Anna Sigalevitch as Anna Schober

Cornelia Kndgen as Mme Blonskij

Critical reception[edit]

The film won a slew of awards on the European circuit, most notably the Grand Prix at the
2001 Cannes Film Festival, with the two leads, Huppert and Magimel, winning Best Actress and Best
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 73% approval rating based on 81 reviews, with
the site consensus being: "Though it makes for rather unpleasant viewing, The Piano Teacher is a
riveting and powerful psychosexual drama."[6]

2001 Cannes Film Festival

Grand Prix[7]

Best Actress - Isabelle Huppert[7]

Best Actor - Benot Magimel[7]

Best Supporting Actress - Annie Girardot

Best Foreign Film

2002 Csar Awards

2002 German Film Awards

2001 European Film Academy

Best European Actress - Isabelle Huppert

2002 L.A. Film Critics Association

Best Actress (Runner-up) - Isabelle Huppert

2002 National Society of Film Critics

Best Actress (Runner-up) - Isabelle Huppert

2001 Russian Guild of Film Critics

Best Foreign Actress - Isabelle Huppert

Best Foreign Film

2002 San Francisco Film Critics Circle

SFFCC Award - Best Actress - Isabelle Huppert

2002 Seattle International Film Festival


Golden Space Needle Award - Best Actress - Isabelle Huppert

2003 Bodil Awards

Best Non-American Film

Golden Palm[7]

Best Actress - Isabelle Huppert

2001 Cannes Film Festival

2002 Csar Awards

2001 British Academy Awards

Best Foreign Language Film - Michael Haneke

Best Foreign Language Film - Veit Heiduschka

2001 European Film Academy

Best European Film

Best European Screenplay - Michael Haneke

2002 Independent Spirit Award

Best Foreign Film

Isabelle Huppert filmography

Sadism and masochism in fiction

See also[edit]


Jump up^ Holden, Stephen (March 29, 2002). "Movie Review - The
Piano Teacher (2001) - FILM REVIEW; Kinky and Cruel Goings-On in
the Conservatory". The New York Times. Retrieved December
12, 2015.


Jump up^ "THE PIANO TEACHER - LA PIANISTE (18)". Artificial

Eye. British Board of Film Classification. 3 October 2001. Retrieved 13
March 2014.


Jump up^


Jump up^



Jump up^ Nobel Prize - 2004


Jump up^ The Piano Teacher. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 4

July 2012.


^ Jump up to:a b c d "Festival de Cannes: The Piano Teacher". Retrieved 2009-10-17.

External links[edit]

Official website

The Piano Teacher at the Internet Movie Database

The Piano Teacher at Box Office Mojo

The Piano Teacher at Rotten Tomatoes

The Piano Teacher at Metacritic


Films directed by Michael Hane


Cannes Film Festival Grand Pr

GND: 4683049-2

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2001 films

2000s drama films

2000s erotic films

2000s thriller films

French films

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French thriller films

Austrian films

Austrian drama films

German films

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French-language films

German-language films

Films directed by Michael Haneke

BDSM in films

Erotic thriller films

Films about pianos and pianists

Films about classical music and musicians

Films based on Austrian novels

Films set in Vienna

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French independent films

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Self-harm in fiction

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