The Piano Teacher: Why People Call It The World’s Most Disturbingly Disgusting Movie

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Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke based his screenplay on fellow Austrian Elfriede Jelinek’s 1993 novel and made it a complicated erotic psychological French drama. The Piano Teacher depicts the story of an unmarried piano teacher from Vienna who used to live with her mother. She eventually ended up in a sadomasochistic relationship with her student and established a love-hate relationship in the first sequence itself. If you are one of the fans of the dark psyche that Haneke offers then you might have noticed that his work usually offers psychological and cognitive silage that are innately disturbing. And for numerous other reasons, The Piano Teacher is considered one of the world’s most disturbingly disgusting movies. Let’s get into the details to get a better idea.


Michael Haneke has explored many dynamics of power, restraint, and gender dynamics in a relationship in The Piano Teacher. Erika Kohut who is the lead character aka the piano teacher finds herself at the center of this super disturbing plot. The movie certainly offers an unpleasant and traumatic experience just like the other works of Haneke. The moment you give access to yourself to pay more attention to the subtexts, purposes, the revelation may affect your sanity and wellbeing. That is exactly the damaging effect of The Piano Teacher.




In The Piano Teacher, the character of Erika’s father seems to struggle a lot. Into the storyline, he tends to be present and absent very frequently. However, Haneke has presented Erika’s sexual masochism as a pathological sublimation. Erika’s masochism is mainly the outcome of her repressed emotions and the deficiency of a definitive figure at home (that is her father). Later in a scene, Erika seemed to punish herself.  She seemed to injure her genitalia with a blade that could perhaps be of her father. It ultimately declares the revelation of her beating fantasies about her father being a desired punisher. Each scene of Erika’s perversion has portrayed the provenience that lies in the traumatic incidents of her personal life.

In the movie, the relationship between Walter and Erika and their unusual relationship soon started to get complicated. Erika is a perfectionist and always in charge of herself and her environment. She soon started to put barriers to their first sexual confrontation inside the conservator’s restroom. The lack of any emotional and sexual intimacy that she has experienced is an ironic manifestation of paraphilia. Haneke successfully established the contrast between her perversity and classical music to achieve stability for the movie and as well as Erika’s life.

The Piano Teacher


As the story flows Erika who has never had a sexual encounter discovers her fantasy disassembled. Walter started abusing Erika’s control and rapes her. This scene represents Walter’s perverted emotions and lack of respect for Erika. It gradually turns into a nightmare for her and smashes her emotional state. In their final clash things ends in obscurity and equivocation. The question that remained is who has hurt whom? Finding closure in Haneke’s movie has been proven meaningless as he never provides his audience any closure. Similar to the other works of Haneke, The Piano Teacher has also left its viewers with dreadful feelings that gradually bleed into their subconsciousness.

So that was all about Michael Haneke’s disturbing yet erotic psychological drama The Piano Teacher. Share your thoughts by mentioning how many of you agree with us.

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