La Pianiste and sadomasochism

So, I watched the Michael Haneke film La Pianiste (subtitled into English, my French is not that good). I've become something of a Haneke fan, having recently also seen Funny Games (the original) and Caché. I like movies that make you think, that aren't predictable, and though Haneke could be considered pretentious, predictable is definitely not a word you'd apply to his films.

La Pianiste and Funny Games made me feel like I needed a shower afterwards. They're disturbing to watch and make you feel as if you're an accomplice to the horror that unfolds (which was precisely Haneke's point, at least with Funny Games). When I saw that La Pianiste had to do with sadomasochism, I was picturing something more like Secretary, but I should have known better coming from Haneke. His version of SM is incredibly raw and twisted. There were parts that made me uncomfortable precisely because I identified with them, and then there were parts that just fucking creeped me out.

I've been doing SM for what, six years now, and it's interesting to get outside the bubble of the BDSM "community" and see how others perceive it. There are plenty of people who practice power dynamics in their relationships who've never heard of "BDSM," yet almost everyone seems to have an opinion about what it is. It's kind of funny watching people act like they've just discovered some new cult - and then pretending to know what it's all about. Really, you can't. I have no deep understanding of why adults dress up as babies. I can't even fathom what motivates furries. So I don't feel qualified to offer any opinions on their mental state.

I'm disappointed that Haneke didn't break the mold of OMGPERVERTZ!!11!. It seemed too trite to depict the main character in La Pianiste as this tortured soul who sought masochism as an escape. He made it too easy for the audience to feel disgusted by her desires, and too easy to avoid confronting their own. Sexual masochism was portrayed as necessarily a dead end. Haneke's not known for happy endings, and I didn't expect one here. Yet I'm disappointed by the misunderstanding of SM.

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