The Piano Teacher(CA Retro)
Austrian auteur Michael Haneke has long cited Chantal Akerman as an influence. With The Piano Teacher, an adaptation of Nobel laureate’s Elfriede Jelinek’s eponymous novel about a pianist’s sado-masochistic relationship with a student and also her demanding mother, Haneke’s homage to Akerman comes menacingly to the forefront. The glacial protagonist Erika Kohut, and the static shots of her going in and out of apartments and concert halls, mirror that in The Meetings of Anna; Kohut’s struggles with the looming shadow of maman, meanwhile, echoes Akerman’s representation of similar bonds – her own, and also others’ – as shown in Letters Home or No Home Movie. Featuring a barn-storming, award-winning performance from Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher is riveting from beginning to end.