The Audition review – love and hate at music school
If Roman Polanski had directed Whiplash, something like this study of the psychological cost of music might have resulted. Ina Weisse’s film is more progressive and naturalistic, as violin teacher Anna (Nina Hoss) pays particular attention to the young protege Alexander (Ilja Monti), the jealous resentment of her son Jonas (Serafin Mishiev), while returning herself nervously on stage.
Weisse begins with paintings of musical works at Anna’s conservatory in Berlin. When the camera and the characters get closer, the trouble – and, sometimes, the romantic connection – begins. Because music is in the bones of Anna’s family, the skeleton of their day. Her French luthier husband Philippe (Simon Abkarian) strums and whispers a communard hymn on her birthday, prelude to a kiss, and bonds with Jonas over the instruments’ skin-like textures. When Anna plays a Menuhin album that she likes to Alexandre, it’s an intimate act. Even her affair with a colleague leads her to join his string quintet. “The violin is just a tiny piece of life,” pleads Philippe. “I’m not mistaken,” she retorts, as if simple instrument-making were a losing game. For Anna, music is a war she cannot win, a tortured servitude, her source of mastery and abnegation.Michael Haneke The piano teacher (2001) and Denis Dercout The page turner (2006) also focused on piano cruelty. One might also think of James Mason’s cane striking near Ann Todd’s fingers on the piano in The Seventh Veil (1946), an early example of sadomasochistic currents of virtuosity. Both Weisse and co-writer Daphne Charizani played in string sections, experiencing their “often excruciating” practice regimens. The hearing don’t exalt that in the crazy militaristic melodrama of Whiplash, or seeing music as an explosive genius. Instead, Weisse soberly observes her everyday life: office politics of bitchy colleagues and bus rides to work through the seasons, constructing Anna’s Berlin world.Hoss was Christian Petzold’s muse, inscribing intense sentiment into German social parables such as Barbaric (2012) and Phoenix (2014). Her human performance here lends a warm blush to what could be a cold portrayal. Anna is often kind and loving to her son, protecting him from his disciplining father. Its flaws crawl just below the surface, fueling deep doubts about its ability to match lofty musical ideals. She means well and is self-aware enough to quiet her quivering inner nature most of the time. But when she is brought to test her own fitness in concert, the excruciating result is bad news for Alexander. He has already appeared at her house, cuckoo clock in the nest and rival of Jonas. Now Anna’s methods range from rigorous to monomaniacally inappropriate, her face flushing as she grabs his recalcitrant body. His hearing becomes the crucible of all his hopes.
With the exception of Anna’s father with his Prussian ways, Weisse’s characters are not evil, but prove capable of doing very bad things, as becomes all too clear with the monstrously shaken final act of this study. friendly and sinister character.