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The Piano Teacher

05 December 2002
Thursday, 10:07 AM

I avoided seeing The Piano Teacher when it was in theaters in the States last spring because I didn’t want to watch it merely for the controversy and it was of little interest to me otherwise. I watched the DVD last night, however, and in spite of (or perhaps because of) the great displeasure one is subjected to while watching it, I’m very glad I saw it. The writing and performance for Isabelle Huppert’s title character is painfully and profoundly human, and while most people were squeamish about her deviant sexual behavior, I found her day-to-day interactions with people to be even more tense, in part because of the clinical coldness with which she addresses her students and colleagues, but mostly in suspense of the expectation that her worlds were bound to collide eventually. It’s a challenging, impressive film.

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