The Piano Teacher

Thursday, May 9th, 2002 | Film

I just saw The Piano Teacher with Isabelle Huppert–a fascinating film about the first “stab” (see the movie) at love taken by a controlling music teacher who has never experienced any kind of physical or emotional intimacy. She sleeps in the same bed as her mother, from whom she has learned that love is about completely controlling one’s loved one. When a handsome and bright young student shows interest in her, she rejects his ardent advances, handing him a letter with specific instructions about how she wants him to express his love for her–by beating her up and sexually assaulting her. I love the French. Doesn’t it seem like mainstream French film has been slowly mutating into an expensive dialogue-heavy porn flick over the past few years? Anyway, it’s a really great movie. The only way that she could imagine intimacy… oh, I forgot to tell you that her sexual experience is limited to watching porn movies in one of those private video booths at the local porn shop, sniffing the cum-encrusted serviettes left behind by previous occupants… so the only way that she could imagine intimacy, given the complete lack of sensation in her life, is in experiencing something physically and emotionally intense, which in this case means wanting a stocking stuffed down her throat and her tongue forced up his butt. (She didn’t offer an explanation of how this was possible.) There’s a great scene–following the student’s brutal rejection of her generous offer to be humiliated and abused–back in bed with mom, where Huppert hops on MOM (!), trying to kiss her on the lips and elsewhere, crying “Je t’aime, mamma! Je t’aime!” Well, mom isn’t into it. There’s also a nifty hymen-slicing scene… See the movie!

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