3 Memorable Affairs in European Cinema


The Reader

3 Memorable Affairs in European Cinema

Lust and desire are almost uncontrollable needs when one is not smart enough. These same needs have given film directors numerous ideas and material for gripping productions. From forbidden romances to incestuous relations, cinema has always been transgressive with its portrayals. Celebrating the premiere of the French drama Temptation of Murder, we have selected three memorable affairs in European cinema.

Michael Berg and Hanna Schmitz (The Reader)

Portrayed by award-winning actors Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet, Michael Berg and Hanna Schmitz are the protagonists of The Reader, a German-American drama. The film tells the story of Michael Berg, a German lawyer who, as a mid-teenager in 1958, has an affair with an older woman, Hanna Schmitz, who then disappears, only to resurface years later as one of the defendants in a war crimes trial stemming from her actions as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp. Michael realizes that Hanna is keeping a personal secret she believes is worse than her Nazi past ― a secret which, if revealed, could help her at the trial.

Winslet won a number of awards for her role, including the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film itself was nominated for several other major awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Erika Kohut and Walter Klemmer (The Piano Teacher)

Erika and Walter have had one of the most dangerous affairs in European cinema. Erika is an unmarried piano teacher at a Vienna conservatory, living with her mother in a state of emotional and sexual disequilibrium. When she meets a young student called Walter, together, they enter into a sadomasochistic relationship.

Despite Erika's assured façade, she is a woman whose sexual repression is manifested in her paraphilia, including voyeurism, sadomasochistic fetishes and self-mutilation. Walter is increasingly insistent in his desire to start a sexual relationship with Erika, but Erika is only willing if he will satisfy her masochistic fantasies.

The Piano Teacher was written and directed by Michael Haneke and is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Elfriede Jelinek. At the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, it won the Grand Prix, with the two leads, Isabelle Huppert and Benoît Magimel, winning Best Actress and Best Actor.

Dr. Stephen Fleming and Anna Barton (Damage)

The ultimate forbidden liaison is the one between Stephen Fleming and Anna Barton in the controversial movie, Damage. Under the clever direction of French director Louis Malle, Damage is a thought-provoking movie about one of the worst-case scenarios for infidelity. The movie stars award-winning actors Jeremy Irons, Juliette Binoche and Miranda Richardson in the main roles, which certainly is a reason not to miss the movie.

Based on the same-titled book of Josephine Hart, the romantic adventures of Fleming became a scandal when the politician starts sharing a sexual relationship with his son's girlfriend and soon-to-be fiancée, Anna.

For her role, Miranda Richardson was nominated for an Academy Award and won a BAFTA in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her performance as the aggrieved wife of the film's main character.

Return to Temptation of Murder



The Piano Teacher



Sign up for the Eurochannel Newsletter!

Don't miss our latest line-up, exclusive sweepstakes and events!