The avoidance of love: The Piano Teacher (2001) as anti-melodrama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Extract:
In 1991, Isabelle Huppert starred in Claude Chabrol’s Madame Bovary, a film that charts the fall of Gustave Flaubert’s tragic heroine. Emma’s idealistic longing for earth-shattering romance is unmet in the realities of married life; devastated by a series of ill-fated affairs and an insurmountable debt, she abandons herself to that most dramatic display of suffering: a prolonged and painful suicide. On her deathbed, cradled by her devoted husband, Huppert’s Bovary emits a thick black liquid from her mouth: the product of a fatal dose of arsenic; the town priest bids the bereaved find comfort in God’s will, and Emma’s devastated husband defiantly curses this God for allowing such suffering. A decade after playing Emma Bovary, Huppert would star in another tale of doomed romance – Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste 2001). Adapted from Elfriede Jelinek’s novel, Der Klavierspielerin, Haneke’s rendering is a kind of anti-melodrama, taking the conventions of the doomed romance familiar from Bovary and showing them up for their contradictory nature: histrionic and subdued, grotesque and utterly banal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSenses of Cinema
Issue number82
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

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Melodrama
Romance
Avoidance
Deity
Husbands
Priests
Contradictory
Rendering
Charts
Dose
Heroine
Liquid
Arsenic
Suicide
Madame Bovary
Longing
Grotesque
Curse
Debt

Cite this

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abstract = "Extract:In 1991, Isabelle Huppert starred in Claude Chabrol’s Madame Bovary, a film that charts the fall of Gustave Flaubert’s tragic heroine. Emma’s idealistic longing for earth-shattering romance is unmet in the realities of married life; devastated by a series of ill-fated affairs and an insurmountable debt, she abandons herself to that most dramatic display of suffering: a prolonged and painful suicide. On her deathbed, cradled by her devoted husband, Huppert’s Bovary emits a thick black liquid from her mouth: the product of a fatal dose of arsenic; the town priest bids the bereaved find comfort in God’s will, and Emma’s devastated husband defiantly curses this God for allowing such suffering. A decade after playing Emma Bovary, Huppert would star in another tale of doomed romance – Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste 2001). Adapted from Elfriede Jelinek’s novel, Der Klavierspielerin, Haneke’s rendering is a kind of anti-melodrama, taking the conventions of the doomed romance familiar from Bovary and showing them up for their contradictory nature: histrionic and subdued, grotesque and utterly banal.",
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The avoidance of love : The Piano Teacher (2001) as anti-melodrama. / Taylor, Alison.

In: Senses of Cinema, No. 82, 02.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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