THE PIANO TEACHER
LA PIANISTE
2001, Janus Films, 131 min, Dir: Michael Haneke

Austrian director Michael Haneke shifted his focus from the social to the psychological for this riveting study of female sexuality and the dynamics of control, an adaptation of a controversial 1983 novel by Elfriede Jelinek. Haneke finds his match in Isabelle Huppert, who delivers an icy but quietly seething performance as Erika, a middle-aged piano professor at a Viennese conservatory who lives with her mother, in a claustrophobically codependent relationship. Severely repressed, she satisfies her masochistic urges only voyeuristically until she meets Walter (Benoît Magimel), a young student whose desire for Erika leads to a destructive infatuation that upsets the careful equilibrium of her life. A critical breakthrough for Haneke, THE PIANO TEACHER - which won the Grand Prix as well as dual acting awards for its stars at Cannes - is a formalist masterwork that remains a shocking sensation. Edited by Monika Willi and Nadine Muse.


ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS
ROCCO E I SUOI FRATELLI
1960, Milestone, 177 min, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Combining Italian neorealism and conventional melodrama, Luchino Visconti's stirring and expansive family epic is set in 1950s Milan, telling a tale of changing times, family ties, conflicting moral codes, human weaknesses, jealousy, rape and murder with realistic trappings and operatic style. After the death of the family patriarch, widowed Rosaria Parondi (Katina Paxinou) moves from a farm to the city with her five sons (including Alain Delon as Rocco).


THE WITCHES (1967)
LE STREGHE
1967, Park Circus/MGM, 112 min, Dir: Mauro Bolognini, Vittorio De Sica, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Franco Rossi, Luchino Visconti

Some of the greatest figures of postwar Italian cinema directed this anthology film, which is composed of five separate segments ranging from comedy to drama. The international cast includes Clint Eastwood, Annie Girardot, Alberto Sordi and Silvana Mangano.


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