The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher is a 2001 French-language erotic drama film, written and directed by Michael Haneke, that is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Elfriede Jelinek. It tells the story of an unmarried piano teacher at a Vienna conservatory, living with her mother in a state of emotional and sexual disequilibrium, who enters into a sadomasochistic relationship with her student. A co-production of Austria and France, Haneke was given the opportunity to direct after previous attempts to adapt the novel by filmmakers Valie Export and Paulus Manker collapsed for financial reasons.


Erika Kohut is a middle-aged piano professor at a Vienna music conservatory who resides in an apartment with her domineering elderly mother. Her late father had been a long-standing resident in a psychiatric asylum. Despite Erika's aloof and assured façade, she is a woman whose sexual repression and loneliness is manifested in her paraphilia, including voyeurism, sadomasochistic fetishes and self-mutilation.