“The Audition” is Weisse’s second writing collaboration with Daphne Charizani, who also worked on Weisse’s feature debut, “The Architect.” In “The Audition,” details and motives are scant, and it’s up to the viewer to piece together much of the story, including Anna’s supposed past with Christian, her troubled marriage with Philippe and her even more obscure relationship with her terse father. This is especially jarring with he pushes Jonas’ hand into an ant pile and pins him there until he could squirm away. Was that a bizarre act to keep his grandson from following in his mother’s footsteps? Was it jealousy or wanton cruelty? With only a brief scolding, Anna moves on from her father’s abuse chillingly easy, and it’s impossible to figure out why.
However, between the writing of Anna and Hoss’ intense performance, some semblance of a character comes to make sense. Although the audience is thrown into the deep end of her world, certain facts and connections slowly fall into place, allowing us to see the decline of this once proud violinist. Her resentment and anger feels layered and nuanced, manifesting in small outbursts and crying spells. There’s no volcanic meltdown, no complete moment where she gets to fall apart. Her training, her severely reserved personality won’t allow her the catharsis she so badly needs.
In addition to Anna’s problems, “The Audition” includes the other struggles of supporting characters. Anna wants her son Jonas to follow in his parents’ musical footsteps, but the young boy seems more excited to play ice hockey with friends than practice the violin by himself for hours while his mom corrects every minute mistake. Anna’s perfectionism makes her a painfully exacting teacher, and the movie shows her snapping over and over again, demanding perfection from both Jonas and Alexander. Perhaps there’s a bit of Anna in her shy student, and perhaps she sees the chance to redeem herself vicariously through his chance at passing the school’s demanding audition. Her husband, who left the cutthroat performance world, shifted into working, repairing and making the delicate stringed instruments. Although work better suits him, Anna resents him for quitting their profession and he bristles when she condescends to him on the topic.