The Audition (Das Vorspiel)
Nina Hoss, Ilja Monti, Simon Abkarian, Jens Albinus
Celebrated German actress Nina Hoss (Barbara, Phoenix, TV’s Homeland) gives an impeccable performance as a perfectionist violin teacher in this forceful, meticulously realised character study from director Ina Weisse, her second collaboration with writer Daphné Charizani following 2008’s The Architect.
With shades of both Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, it sees Hoss play a violin teacher, Anna, who despite opposition from other teachers in her music school, decides to drive through the admission of a student (Ilja Monti) in whom she detects a remarkable talent. Increasingly committed to preparing him for an upcoming audition, as well as to her own other, extra-curricular interests, she neglects both her son (Serafin Mishiev) and her husband (Simon Abkarian) in the process; and as the day of the audition approaches, the pressure mounts.
As Anna’s emotions intensify, Weisse focuses her camera on Hoss’s face, capturing each tiny shift from one shade of feeling to the next. Both serene and subversive, immaculately composed and backed by a stirring Bach soundtrack, The Audition is a gripping, distinctive spin on the demanding teacher/gifted student narrative that forces you to keep asking questions until its bracing final moments.