In this adaptation of the novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Elfriede Jelinek, which nabbed multiple awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Isabelle Huppert plays a brilliant but sexually repressed piano instructor whose world is shattered by the sadomasochistic advances of one of her students.
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Revisiting this I am more certain than ever that Huppert gives here what is a strong contender for greatest performance in the history of cinema. Žižek is also right about this being the ultimate film about how unpleasant the results tend to be when we attempt to make our most sordid desires become a reality. After the formal radicalism of 71 FRAGMENTS and CODE INCONNU, Haneke makes a relative classicism pay off.
Exercises in control: assertion, fulfilment, denial, regret, assertion... Rigorous in its harsh logic, this severe exploration of power play offers little narrative explanation - although a familial source is suggested - just the ruthless pursuance of desire masking any love (much more convincing than The Night Porter). Quite thrilling. It's a difficult tragic film with Huppert a superb conduit for Haneke.
This may be the movie where I realized that Isabelle Huppert is the greatest actor out there. She has an almost infinite range, and a vulnerability to match it. Of course it helps having Haneke at the helm.
Cold, bleak and twisted. By the time the film ended I wasn't so sure anymore about who was the craziest one in the story! Huppert and Magimel are strictly directed by Heneke and the result is this weird mixture of envy, seduction, obsession, masochism, suggested incest and downright craziness... delivered in an oddly sober and classy french style. The very last scene was a bit strange, but overall great film!
Another European arthouse film of-the-'90s, with careful dialogues, long shots and - the usual magic touch - a series of sudden, unexplicable, shocking events QUIETLY happening on the screen. Fact is that your eyes are glued to the things you are watching. And you think, a lot. Almost feeling Haneke smiling in the dark, as he acknowledges how well he is playing with you. Unsettling, disturbing, untolerable as usual.
Another fun date movie from Michael Haneke! But seriously, this is Haneke's most disturbing film, even more so than Funny Games. It's been a while since I've had a viewing experience quite as uncomfortable. And that's why I love it. Just a magnificent work of art, Huppert is a godsend and the visuals and style are incredible as always. Perhaps my 2nd favorite Haneke behind Cache.
the magnum opus of Haneke's oeuvre. a film about the depraved underbelly of society, about the concept of culture as a facade to hide the animal desires of sexuality. isabelle huppert gives the best performance in european cinema history, sadistic, unpredictable, manic and emotionally disturbing. nobody quite captures the long take like haneke.
From what I can tell, this is one of Haneke's most introspective efforts, and undeniably honest in its depiction sexuality. Seriously, there is absolutely no facade present. Probably the most disturbing part about the man's films is that within these twisted characters he creates, there are numerous qualities which many people, including myself, seem to identify with (though genital mutilation could be pushing it.)