KAGEMUSHA
1980, 20th Century Fox, 179 min, Japan/USA, Dir: Akira Kurosawa

In 16th-century Japan, Lord Shingen Takeda is killed by an enemy sharp-shooter and a condemned thief (Tatsuya Nakadai) who looks uncannily like Takeda must take the ruler’s place. Shakespearean in scope, Akira Kurosawa's epic period drama won the Palme d'Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.


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.


THE PIANO
1993, Park Circus/Miramax, 121 min, Dir: Jane Campion

In 1851, mute Scottish woman Ada McGrath (Best Actress winner Holly Hunter) arrives in colonial New Zealand for an arranged marriage, with her precocious young daughter (Best Supporting Actress Anna Paquin) and beloved piano in tow. Her practical new husband (Sam Neill) refuses to transport the piano to their home and makes a deal with his neighbor, George Baines (Harvey Keitel), to take the piano off his hands. Attracted to Ada, Baines agrees to return the piano in exchange for a series of piano lessons that become a series of increasingly charged sexual encounters. As pent-up emotions of rage and desire swirl around all three characters, the savage wilderness begins to consume the tiny European enclave. Edited by Veronika Jenet.


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