The Audition | Das Vorspiel (2021)

March 25th, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Ina Weisse; Cast: Nina Hoss, Simon Abkarian, Jens Albinus, Ilja Monti, Serafin Mishiev, Sophie Rois, Thomas Thieme; France/Germany 2019, 99 min.

Nina Hoss brings her signature style to this muted portrait of middle age crisis from German director Ina Weisse (The Architect).

Suffering from a debilitating illness Anna (Hoss) has been forced to give up her career as a concert violinist and relegated to teaching at Berlin’s famous Conservatoire. A star pupil ¬†Alexander (Monti) becomes the focus of emotional energy as her private life spins out of control. In the throes of an affair with colleague Christian (Albinus) she desperately tests her marriage to bewildered husband Philippe (Abkarian), a craftsman, and over-pressurises her son Jonas (Mishiev) into learning to play the violin.

Borrowing heavily from Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher and Denis Dercourt’s La Tourneuse de Pages, Weisse fails to put her personal stamp on the feature but Hoss gives a resonating performance channelling her angst into all the other characters without resorting to the histrionics Anna clearly feels inside. There are some really taut scenes particularly one where she plays in Christian’s string quartet with disastrous results.

Anna has clearly been affected by her over-achieving parents and she reprimands her draconian father during a terse set-to at a family get together when he tries to discipline Jonas. A dramatic finale follows Alexander’s titular audition, but somehow we feel shortchanged by the outcome. AS



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