Cate Blanchett and Todd Field were interviewed recently by The Guardian on the afterlife of TÁR. The film landed number 2 on The Guardian’s “Best Film of 2023”, it was released in the UK on 13 January. Also, Cate hosted a screening of Yorgos Lanthimos’ screening last week.
Does it feel strange still to be talking about Tár?
Cate Blanchett: Some things don’t ever leave you. This has been fascinating from the moment of inception, through making and releasing it and now watching people’s reaction to the film deepen and evolve. It’s very rewarding.
Todd Field: Yesterday, a woman came up and talked to me about the movie for maybe 25 minutes. She had seen it nine times.
CB: We all have our rapid-fire set of judgments when things first come out. I think people were quick to define what the film was, but the way it’s distilled has been really interesting. Todd’s made a great film that stands the test of time. It’s not a film that’s necessarily of the moment. It feels quite ancient, I think.
In what way?
CB: We knew from the get-go that’s not for us to talk about. Part of the challenge of persuading people to see it in the cinema is that you end up sort of reducing the film by saying, say: “It’s an examination of power.” That feels quite reductive to the actual experience of watching it.
About 78% of the film’s box office was outside the US. Did that surprise you?
TF: The first time we screened the film for the studio, the head of international was very excited. They came up and said: “Oh, you’ve made a foreign film!” In the US last year it was still difficult because 40% of our arthouses had shuttered permanently after Covid. People that would frequent those arthouses wouldn’t go to multiplexes for all kinds of – for me, anyway – understandable reasons. I think that’s changing this year. Some of these places are opening up again.
Do you wish you’d waited a year to release?
CB: You never know. It’s always a gamble. And it’s a joy when people discover a film you made, say, five years ago. That’s the greatest compliment. I don’t think the film is an open and closed narrative. Although once people started talking about it, it was no longer ours. It did slip somehow into the zeitgeist, but I think it transcends that. It’s not a film that tells you how to think or how to feel.
TF: When we wrapped shooting in Berlin I made some very simple closing remarks to the crew and found myself extremely emotional. Because it was the first time I’d given voice to what we all knew making the film, which was that we had just witnessed one of the most extraordinary, courageous performances we ever would as film-makers. I’ve been doing this, in a fashion, for 40 years, and I’m never likely to have the privilege of seeing one of the greatest actors of all time perform magic at the most superb level every day. That’s what people are responding to. Yes, the film has things to say, but the message was delivered through the lens of a very skilled artist. Cate’s performance is just one of those you’ll never forget. You are branded by it.
What would Lydia have made of Maestro [Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic; Bernstein was the – fictional – mentor to Tár]?
TF: I imagine she would be very happy to see it and very impressed.
CB: She would’ve been jealous. Absolutely. Fo’ shizz. But it’s a form of alchemy, isn’t it, conducting? Ours is strangely contrapuntal: Lydia is a person operating outside time, in the wrong rhythm. And Tár is not a film about conducting, it’s just something essential that the character does, like breathing. In the same way that Maestro is a love story. But it is fascinating how that world has been examined in such entirely different ways.
Bella BaxTár ?
The wonderful Cate Blanchett joined the Poor Things team to introduce a special screening and Q&A at @CurzonMayfair.
Poor Things is in UK cinemas January 12th. pic.twitter.com/UuCsFDDbBm
— Searchlight Pictures UK (@SearchlightUK) December 16, 2023