Drama films

Audition review – Nina Hoss gives a virtuoso performance | Drama movies

Jrare are the actors who can do more with their eyes alone than Nina Hoss (regular collaborator of the director Christian Petzold, we saw her recently in My little sister by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond). Here, she constructs an entire character – angular, complex, often contradictory – out of flickering gazes and the restless crease between her eyebrows. She’s the perfect cast in German director Ina Weisse’s drama in which so much is left unspoken, in which secrets float through the air like a discordant, discordant note in a concert.

Hoss plays Anna, a violin teacher at a prestigious conservatory. She is, like her instrument, very nervous. There’s an anguished hunger in those eyes when she first hears new student Alexander (Ilja Monti) perform. Her technique is raw, but she spots her talent and pleads her case with her dismissive colleagues. But his quest to turn the boy into an audition-ready virtuoso becomes all-consuming – chilling his marriage to Philippe (Simon Abkarian) and alienating his son, Jonas (Serafin Mishiev), also a conservatory student. The slow sliding of the camera reflects the gradual build-up of pressure; it’s the kind of tension that feels like a tightening of the grip on the audience.