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Mar 16 2015

Beauty vs Beast: Making Beastly Music Together

Jason fromMNPPhere with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast,"wherein we ask you to pick a side either side in one of cinema's many morality plays.It's the birthday of one of our greatest living actresses -Isabelle Huppert is turning 62 today!And talk about still going strong.She's pounding out some of her most exciting and dangerous-as-ever work ever these days;last year'sAbuse of Weaknessfrom Catherine Breillat made me weak in the knees.And the project she's in the middle of filming right now,a rape-revenge thriller from Danish provocateur Paul Verhoeven...well even just writing those words in that sequence makes me break out in a hot sweat of expectations.

So today in her honor we look back at perhaps her greatest achievement to date,Michael Haneke'sThe Piano Teacher.Which - usefully for this exercise - is also giving us one of the hardest-to-root-for lead characters ever put on screen.Not that Benoit Magimel's aggresively manicured Walter is anybody's idea of a saint...Haneke's not going to make this easy for anybody.(Understatement of the century.)

Whose team are you on?
Team Walter 0%
Team Erika 0%

PREVIOUSLYWe made likeBuffy for her 18th anniversaryand got our vampire boyfriends on - but who slayed?It was the peroxide punk who saved the day - Spike too about 53% of the vote in what was unsurprisingly a close battle.It's been raging for eighteen years,after all!SaidJS:

"Spike still takes every and all cakes."

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Reader Comments (15)

Another living legend who has never been nominated.Pariah (Nick Davis).

I love this movie.Recently found out this was an adaptation of a book.Almost scared to read the literary version.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

she's in the middle of filming right now,a rape-revenge thriller from Danish provocateur Paul Verhoeven...well even just writing those words in that sequence makes me break out in a hot sweat of expectations

Apologizes Jason,I made my post without reading yours.This actually deserves its own write-up.Paul Verhoeven is the most important adult auteur of my childhood.More nostalgic for his subversive sensibility in my studio backed genre fare.Love you forever and always Paul Verhoeven.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Verhoeven is TOPS,3rtful,I couldn't agree more.I have writtena little more about the movie over at MNPP,I should have linked to it - it sounds like something that could break the world in half if it lives up to its potential.Those two working together on such risky material could be explosive!I hope I hope I hope it is!

March 16,2015 | Unregistered CommenterJA

It'll be a success regardless of the critical consensus.The character and plot description at IMDB is totally Huppert.It won't look like acting.Shocked she hasn't made this movie already.

Did you like My Mother (2004),Jason?

March 16,2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I remember liking it but not being in love with it,3rtful,but I haven't seen it since it came out and I feel like I would probably like it more now than I would have then.My vague memory of my problem with it,what was keeping me from love,is that it felt as if it was trying too hard,writing INCEST in great big letters or something,but honestly I don't remember it all that well (save the couple of shockers that you could never forget,of course).But it's clearly time for a revisit.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered CommenterJA

My Mother was horrible.The only good thing was naked Louie.

Abuse of Weakness is a great film and she's fantastic in it.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

My Mother was horrible.

It was not.

it was trying too hard,writing INCEST in great big letters

Not a subtle bone in its body.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I don't support the sniffing of used Kleenex so I voted for Walter.Besides he's gorgeous.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Yeah that's what I worry about re: my reception of Ma Mere the first time,3rtful - I think I've got a better handle on appreciating that kind of arty broadness now than I did back then so I might be more receptive

But I def agree with Sad man about the Naked Louis parts being MOST EXCELLENT,no matter what.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered CommenterJA

I found it laughable and boring.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Huppert is TREMENDOUS as Erika,no way my vote is going to Walter.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I don't support the sniffing of used Kleenex

You're a square.That scene made me a lifetime member of the Isabelle Huppert fan club.Meryl Streep would never.

March 16,2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I thought Ma Mere was pretty bad and Abuse of Weakness weak but for its first reel and final reel (so much filler!) but Isabelle is always on fire whatever is going on with her films.

March 16,2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

and the only way Walter is going to win this is if you post nude photos of Benoit Magimel with it and confuse people as to what they're voting on.That said I voted for Walter because Erika is so fucking depraved.and not in the good way.That ending!

March 16,2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm not square!How dare you?I'm exotic and mysterious!

March 17,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

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