8.3 C
Friday, June 18, 2021

Now showing: The Audition (M15+)

Luke McWilliams gives his review of the 2019 drama, The Audition, starring Nina Hoss and Simon Abkarian.

At a Berlin high school’s annual entry exams, highly-strung violin teacher Anna Bronsky (Nina Hoss) advocates the admission of young Alexander (Ilja Monti) against the advice of her colleagues. Neglecting both her son Jonas (Serafin Mishiev) and husband Philippe (Simon Abkarian), Anna chooses to cast her intense focus onto Alexander instead.

The Berlin setting and atmosphere, like Anna, is extremely cold. Void of warmth or care, Anna is a ferociously focused and intense individual. Her son longs for her attention, and her husband suspects she is having an affair with their mutual acquaintance, Christian, who wants Anna to join his quartet. No longer able to perform at her peak, Anna channels her energy into her young student to prepare him for the end-of-year exam to achieve musical heights vicariously.

While Anna seems obsessively single-minded, stressed and unlikable, it becomes possible to empathise with her once we see her stern father using the same authoritarian parenting styles on Jonas. While Anna’s life is bare and grim, like Whiplash, it seems to be all in service of musical excellence. Through the events of the movie, starting at an entrance exam and with a look at Anna’s hardened father, we get an idea of the cyclical nature of Anna’s life, and where it is inevitably heading.

Verdict: A grim look at the cost of success, and whether such sacrifices are ultimately worth it. 3 stars.

The Audition is playing at the 2021 German Film Festival at Palace Electric.

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