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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Isabelle Huppert

Once in a while you see a movie which features a stellar performance that you don't know what hit you. Isabelle Huppert's role in The Piano Teacher stabs you in the heart and twists the knife a bit. It's a wonderfully calibrated performance about the deleterious effects of sexual repression. The movie is supremely engaging and disturbing at the same time. I will write about the movie, which will entail a frank and detailed sexual exploration, in a later post.

6 comments:

Varaha said...

Yes, I liked the movie too...I watched it a few years ago when the author of the novel won Nobel for lit..

I wish the creator dealt with solution to the repression problem...like sublimation of ideal or seeking a spiritual tangent etc.. Buddha,Christ, Vivekananda etc. spring to mind.

Good movie, but I guess intended only for mature audience.

Cheers
Varaha

Prasad Venkataramana said...

Varaha,
You're spoiled by Maniratnam's cop-out climaxes where unrealistically simple solutions (love, hope, spirituality I you want to call it..) are presented as redeeming options. Any conventional closure for The Piano Teacher would have significantly reduced it's emotional and intellectual density.

Aside: What are you suggesting? Buddha and Vivekananda resorted to 'spirituality' to 'cure' their sexual repression?

Varaha said...

"What are you suggesting? Buddha and Vivekananda resorted to 'spirituality' to 'cure' their sexual repression?"
-- That certainly is humorous :-)

I wanted to convey that in addition to portraying the issue of repression, solutions could have been explored...that would have been a challenging creative task for the creator...

Also, if love, hope, spirituality cannot redeem someone, then what can ? Certainly not Role-play video games and Anti-depressants.

On a tangent: the phrase "love, hope, spirituality" sums up
what all religions stand for. You hit the bull's eye there !!

Cheers
Varaha

Prasad Venkataramana said...

Varaha,
Why is it more challenging for a writer/director to provide solutions? I'm tempted to categorize this 'seeking solution' an Indian quest, but I'll scale back. The movie is quite complex in its themes and a solution of some sort would seem weak and made-up. Because life is not like that. Some people are psychologically scarred and they can only 'improve' but never 'be' like a 'common' man/woman. Everyone's personal experience dictates how they deal with a condition and life dishes out conditions that aren't easily handled. Love and hope help ease the pain, but the transformation must come from within. But is that what we call redemption? Redemption is, in a manner of speaking, associated with progress towards the good and usually in bed with religious (spiritual?) enlightenment. Anti-depressant you say? You know what's called opium for the masses?

Varaha said...

2 strands.

1)Creator providing solution etc. - we can choose to disagree,

2)Opium etc. - more tangents here:

"Redemption is, in a manner of speaking, associated with progress towards the good and usually in bed with religious (spiritual?) enlightenment."

-- You answered it yourself (Redemption is associated with religious transformation) the question "You know what's called opium for the masses?".

BTW, Marx called religion the opium and Marx had his own axe to grind - a Jew converted to Christianity in anti-Semitic Germany, what better way to kill one's past than speaking ill of religion...and get a pat from Aryans :-)
May be a Freudian slip from Marx :-)

Cheers
Varaha

Vidya said...

I attempted reading the book thrice and somehow could not get past the first 60-70 pages. Must watch the movie..