24. The Piano Teacher
Much like Breaking the Waves, Michael Haneke’s 2001 drama is troubling enough on its own, but its leading performer makes the picture even tougher to take. This time, it’s the great Isabelle Huppert, playing a sexually repressed 40-something piano teacher whose affair with a 17-year-old student unleashes her sadomasochistic tendencies. Huppert makes the character’s harrowing backstory and subsequent emotional wreckage all too real, fogging the movie with an all-consuming hopelessness that has become his trademark.