Occasional Evenings: Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher — Film Screening and Discussion

BISR Central
68 Jay Street, #425
Brooklyn, NY 11201

The Piano Teacher (2001) launched Austrian film director Michael Haneke to international fame, taking the Grand Prix as well as best actress (Isabelle Huppert) and best actor (Benoît Magimel) awards at that year’s festival in Cannes. Adapted from Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s eponymous 1983 novel—a rare adaptation in Haneke’s oeuvre—the film is a chilling and fastidious case study of sexual desire and repression “elevated,” as one critic put it, “into a subject of aesthetic and philosophical discourse.” In Haneke’s signature austere fashion, the film follows Erika Kohut—by day, an ultra-disciplined piano instructor at Vienna’s prestigious music conservatory; by night, a voyeur, both licit and illicit, of the sex lives of others—through the agonizing paces of an ill-fated romantic affair with a young and gifted student. Haneke’s enduring preoccupations—with the technologically-mediated image, obscenity, violence, and the sins of the bourgeoisie—converge in this intimate and unsettling portrait of an artist embittered, entrapped, and struggling within and against societal, sexual, and psychological confines. 

Join us Thursday, February 29th, at BISR Central for a screening of The Piano Teacher. Before the film, BISR faculty Paige Sweet, Rebecca Ariel Porte, and Lauren K. Wolfe will sit down to discuss the film’s adaptation and score, as well as its cinematic strategies, its psychosexual dynamics, and some of the difficult questions it raises concerning sexual commerce and art consumption, power and repression, and the harrowingly uncertain lines demarcating fantasy from reality.

The event, a complement to our March course Wonderful, Wonderful Times: Reading Elfriede Jelinek, also taking place in-person at BISR Central, is free with a suggested $10 donation. As always, beer, wine, seltzer, and snacks will be served. Seating is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Please RSVP below.

Event Schedule

Thursday, 7:00pm ET
February 29, 2024


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