Das Vorspiel – Choose the Most Negative Character

REVIEW/NATION
by Albina Akhatova
20.12.2020
The German drama Das Vorspiel ('The Audition', 2019) – by Ina Weisse, better known as the actress in Werk ohne Autor ('Work Without Author', 2018) – recounts the story of the violin teacher Anna. Her entire life she goes through a toxic and destructive atmosphere, the influence of which she transfers to her own family and the people around. However, this is a rare example of a character to whom you do not want to sympathize, but not because the director writes it exclusively in negative tones. Ina Weisse shows Anna with the root causes of her actions. Being initially an actress, she puts a strong and great emphasis on the experience and expression of feelings by the characters, creating imperfect and even evil people out of psychological fragility and instability. Thus, Weisse forces the viewer to become emotionally involved in what is happening: something happens on the screen that cannot leave a sane and balanced person indifferent. And this is not about physical violence.

The opening scene is the one with children auditioning for music school. The Commission is presented by the violinist Alexander Paraskevas, who the teachers consider closed and enslaved, note the wrong playing technique and generally are not sure that he will pull the training. Anna stands up for the boy and promises to prepare Alexander for a second audition, so that he will be enrolled for a trial semester.
The appearance of a budding and potential boy resonates with Anna's relationship with her own son, Jonas. The boy who wants to have a dog and plays hockey, rather than scrape on a fiddle according to his mother's unfulfilled ambitions, has not even entered the explosive teenage years yet. However, despite his mother's rejection, the boy is jealous of her new student and arranges villainies for him which ends tragically. Jonas is already showing an unbalanced and aggressive attitude towards the world: we are also shown how he ruins an anthill. Where is the line between childish jealousy and curiosity? – after all, the same child saves river fish that are caught by kebab makers in the local park and asks if it hurts a cow when it is slaughtered.
Each act of Anna leads to a deterioration of relationships with her family, colleagues and the student, and precisely because Anna does not even realize that her actions are harmful to others. In addition, she is plagued by self-doubt – she stopped playing due to an unnamed injury, and the incident at the concert further undermines her confidence in professional competence. Hysteria, nervousness and signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, add the final touches to this portrait and the story with a fatal ending, which turns out to be enchantingly discouraging. Anna looks lovingly at her son playing the violin in the music class, which gives the impression that she is now satisfied with her child. Rhyming this with what happened to Alexander because of Jonas, there is nothing else to do but hate the hypocritical woman.

Without an outstanding acting, such audience involvement would not have been possible. Debutants Ilya Monti and Serafin Mishiev – Alexander and Jonas, respectively – don't look less convincing against the background of experienced Nina Hoss, familiar to Russian viewers from such TV series as Homeland (2011-2020) and The White Massai (2005), and Jens Albinus from the films of Lars von Trier and Simon Abkarian.
Creating a film about musicians and composers are limited to a diegetic soundtrack of musical works performed by the characters. It should be noted that musical terms will be a delight to the viewers who are experienced in this matter; and for those who are less versed, the dialogue is structured so as to convey the idea without delving into specific professional details. Otherwise, it is clear, even to the uninitiated viewer, that the screenplayers and director carefully studied the craft that they would shoot the film about, and showed it in great detail.
Das Vorspiel turned out to be a film that evokes contradictory and ambiguous feelings. Usually, the audience is used to sympathizing with the characters, but the characters of this movie cause the opposite desire. At the same time, looking at what is happening on the screen, which is a mirror for each person, some of us may be relieved to find that we are not reflected in it. And some will find themselves and think about it.
 
Das Vorspiel – Choose the Most Negative Character
REVIEW/NATION
by Albina Akhatova
20.12.2020
The German drama Das Vorspiel ('The Audition', 2019) – by Ina Weisse, better known as the actress in Werk ohne Autor ('Work Without Author', 2018) – recounts the story of the violin teacher Anna. Her entire life she goes through a toxic and destructive atmosphere, the influence of which she transfers to her own family and the people around. However, this is a rare example of a character to whom you do not want to sympathize, but not because the director writes it exclusively in negative tones. Ina Weisse shows Anna with the root causes of her actions. Being initially an actress, she puts a strong and great emphasis on the experience and expression of feelings by the characters, creating imperfect and even evil people out of psychological fragility and instability. Thus, Weisse forces the viewer to become emotionally involved in what is happening: something happens on the screen that cannot leave a sane and balanced person indifferent. And this is not about physical violence.

The opening scene is the one with children auditioning for music school. The Commission is presented by the violinist Alexander Paraskevas, who the teachers consider closed and enslaved, note the wrong playing technique and generally are not sure that he will pull the training. Anna stands up for the boy and promises to prepare Alexander for a second audition, so that he will be enrolled for a trial semester.
The appearance of a budding and potential boy resonates with Anna's relationship with her own son, Jonas. The boy who wants to have a dog and plays hockey, rather than scrape on a fiddle according to his mother's unfulfilled ambitions, has not even entered the explosive teenage years yet. However, despite his mother's rejection, the boy is jealous of her new student and arranges villainies for him which ends tragically. Jonas is already showing an unbalanced and aggressive attitude towards the world: we are also shown how he ruins an anthill. Where is the line between childish jealousy and curiosity? – after all, the same child saves river fish that are caught by kebab makers in the local park and asks if it hurts a cow when it is slaughtered.

Each act of Anna leads to a deterioration of relationships with her family, colleagues and the student, and precisely because Anna does not even realize that her actions are harmful to others. In addition, she is plagued by self-doubt – she stopped playing due to an unnamed injury, and the incident at the concert further undermines her confidence in professional competence. Hysteria, nervousness and signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, add the final touches to this portrait and the story with a fatal ending, which turns out to be enchantingly discouraging. Anna looks lovingly at her son playing the violin in the music class, which gives the impression that she is now satisfied with her child. Rhyming this with what happened to Alexander because of Jonas, there is nothing else to do but hate the hypocritical woman.

Without an outstanding acting, such audience involvement would not have been possible. Debutants Ilya Monti and Serafin Mishiev – Alexander and Jonas, respectively – don't look less convincing against the background of experienced Nina Hoss, familiar to Russian viewers from such TV series as Homeland (2011-2020) and The White Massai (2005), and Jens Albinus from the films of Lars von Trier and Simon Abkarian.
Creating a film about musicians and composers are limited to a diegetic soundtrack of musical works performed by the characters. It should be noted that musical terms will be a delight to the viewers who are experienced in this matter; and for those who are less versed, the dialogue is structured so as to convey the idea without delving into specific professional details. Otherwise, it is clear, even to the uninitiated viewer, that the screenplayers and director carefully studied the craft that they would shoot the film about, and showed it in great detail.
Das Vorspiel turned out to be a film that evokes contradictory and ambiguous feelings. Usually, the audience is used to sympathizing with the characters, but the characters of this movie cause the opposite desire. At the same time, looking at what is happening on the screen, which is a mirror for each person, some of us may be relieved to find that we are not reflected in it. And some will find themselves and think about it.
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