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Warped Eroticism: A Case Study on a Sado-Masochism

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  1. Introduction: The film 'La Pianiste'
  2. The existing psychoanalytic theory on sexual perversion
  3. The character of Erika
    1. The opening scene of the movie
    2. Madame Kohut's rhetoric during Erika's early years
    3. Erika's acceptance of being a subordinate to her mother
  4. Erika's super ego
  5. The two factors affecting the developing psyche of Erika
  6. Erika's attempt to express her sexuality
  7. Concluding remarks
  8. Works consulted

The film ?La Pianiste? is not only a stunning work of art; it also brilliantly portrays the psychopathology of Erika Kohut, a repudiated piano professor at the Consevatoire de Vienne. By leading us into her private life and exploring her "abnormal" fantasies the film creates a striking paradox: A talented artist whose musical renderings are filled with a passionate yet rigorous technical perfection desires to be brutalized and tortured during sex. Unable to realize this fantasy until meeting another brilliant musician with whom she attempts to act out her sado-masochistic desires, Erika inflicts the pain upon herself; she mutilates her genitals with razors. Forced to lie to her domineering and omnipresent mother, Erika goes to sex shops where she watches peep shows and sniffs left behind paper towels saturated with ejaculate. Her voyeuristic tendencies become more apparent when she goes to a drive-in movie theater and spies on a young couple making love. Once excited, she squats and urinates over the open wounds of her mutilated genitals, apparently eroticizing the burning sensation. For Erika, the sensations of pain and brutality are inextricably linked with sexuality and romantic intimacy. The purpose of this essay is to elucidate the heroine of this film by better understanding the reasons behind her extreme sado-masochism and their possible roots. What psychic mechanisms could be at work behind the motivations of such a complex and paradoxical woman?

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