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Two weeks to go before the New York premiere of TÁR — after the NYFF premiere there will be a Q&A with Cate Blanchett, Todd Field, Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, and Sophie Kauer.
Le Soir has published the interview they did with Cate in Venice. The film will be released in Belgium on March 1st 2023.
This is a google translated interview from French to English. Beware of spoilers.
The divine Cate Blanchett returns with a film that presents itself as a colossal challenge and which will cause a lot of ink to flow. TÁR by director Todd Field, after a sixteen-year absence from the cinema, plunges into the world of international classical music through the figure of Lydia Tár. Considered one of the greatest living composers and orchestra directors, she is the first woman to conduct a major German orchestra. The film follows her at the height of her creativity, career, and personal life, as she lives with a violinist and a girl they adopted, and follows her to her tragic decline. #MeToo accusations multiply, as do videos and emails: Lydia is suspected of having favored the cellist she fell in love with in her orchestra, of having harassed women in the past and of having persecuted a musician who ended up taking her own life.
“This film is a sprawling creature, and my feelings are changing day by day,” says Cate Blanchett, we met at the Venice Film Festival. “This morning I woke up thinking this is some kind of power meditation. Not only institutional power, but also creative power. We are in an unequal relationship, where the individual is opposed to the power of the group, of the orchestra. Conductors often refer to the orchestra as their instrument, but an orchestra is made up of many people. Often, institutional power is completely hierarchical, like a pyramid. We feel in certain institutions, in particular in the world of classical music, whose canon is masculine, directed and created by men, that power has something analogous to the divine power of kings. What happens when someone wants to challenge the system and achieve power? Does he see himself consumed and modified by this power? Can the fragile relationship one has with creative impulses be destroyed? I also think the film is about time.”
In which way?
It was important to me that the character was turning 50. We experience an incredible change at this age. You don’t have to be in the world of movies or music, or be an athlete, to realize that this is where the real challenge begins. We reach a summit and we realize that the next goal is even more difficult to reach and is related to the descent. Lydia finds herself at the end of a cycle and she wonders what will be next, on the creative front.
Is this film a #MeToo story in reverse?
No. I think the fact of seeing #MeToo there is because the question is still open, that there is still a lot of rage to appease. Of course, the film talks about cancel culture and, if you want, you can also put #MeToo in it, but I think that would amount to generalizing somewhat. These elements are present in the film, but because they are useful to the plot and are representative of the evolution of the world. They do not constitute the heart of the story, which is much more existentialist.
Many great artists are execrable men. Should we separate the judgment on art from that on the person?
I believe that the life of artists hides many stories. I am thinking of Mahler, who holds a central place in our film. I saw a documentary about Alma Mahler and I thought: this woman is a talentless human being who has consummated this man’s art. At the end, I realized that I had never heard any woman speak of her. The Alma story I knew was an all-male version. Behind the artistic, economic and sporting successes are many people who supported the winner. There are disputes, abuses and lies that have been reported about which we will never know the truth. It is important to act, to read these books which are slightly offensive, but which make us understand the way of thinking of a society. When I find myself in front of a Picasso, I imagine and I know what happened in his studio, because I have informed myself. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think, look at Guernica, that is one of the greatest works ever created. That’s a fact. The main thing is to always exercise your critical sense.
Does Cate Blanchett believe she has some power? How does she exercise it?
“Well, I’m a financially secure, well-educated white woman who’s committed to a stable relationship, working, and healthy,” the actress replies. “From that point of view, I am incredibly powerful. But when my husband and I wanted to run the Sydney Theatre Company, we knew we wanted to create something. We have integrated a set. So you have to know when and how to use your power. Sometimes our expectations of a powerful person also change. If a director answers ‘I don’t know yet’ to a question, I find that extremely powerful and creative. In general, people expect immediate answers. If it is a man who gives such an answer, it is considered that he is open to others. But if it’s a woman, you hear people say ‘There, she’s got a hole’ or ‘It’s going to be a long shoot today…’”
We have compiled updates on other Cate Blanchett-related projects and causes she supports, ranging from interviews, magazine scans, and recent or upcoming event appearances. You can check them below.
— UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Cate Blanchett has penned an piece for Politico urging global leaders to do more for the Rohingya refugees.
Rohingya: A life lived in limbo
It’s more important than ever that we don’t look away, despite other emerging humanitarian and refugee crises in the world.
Gul Zahar, a young Rohingya woman, was forced to flee her home in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Escaping brutality and widespread abuse, she and around 200,000 fellow Rohingya refugees sought safety in Bangladesh. That was in 1978.
After returning home, another wave of violence against the Rohingya forced her to seek safety in Bangladesh once more. That was in 1992.
Many years later, Gul and her four-generation family were among the 720,000 Rohingya who made that same desperate journey to safety, yet again forced from their homes by violence. Trekking through jungles and mountains and crossing the river, it was one of the largest and fastest refugee influxes the world had seen for decades.
That was five years ago, in 2017.
Today, over 925,000 Rohingya refugees live in the densely populated camps near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Over 75 percent are women and children.
The Rohingya are the largest stateless community in the world.
Although they have lived in Myanmar for generations, they aren’t recognized as citizens. And they face a host of discriminatory practices limiting their daily lives, in addition to the violence and persecution carried out against them.
When I visited Bangladesh in 2018 in my role as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), I was not prepared for the depth of suffering that I saw.
I witnessed mothers enduring the unending pain of seeing their children live through these experiences. I sat with countless refugee children who had endured brutality and uncertainty, as I pictured my own children safe at home, joyful and carefree.
Following the influx in 2017, the emergency response to the refugee crisis, led by the government and people of Bangladesh, was exemplary. With the help of the international community, they provided medical assistance, food and relief items, and built makeshift shelters. Rohingya refugees were registered and issued with identity documentation — the first many had received in their lives.
Over time, however, the camps have developed their own fragile ecosystem, with their health care, water and sanitation facilities becoming severely challenged.
Rohingya refugees themselves play a vital role as the first responders in their community, including in the areas of emergency preparedness and disaster response, health, education, as well as community response and mobilization. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, refugee volunteers took the lead in informing their community about health and hygiene, monitored signs of illness and connected refugees with critical health services. Their ingenious efforts saved countless lives.
Five years since that latest mass influx from Myanmar to Bangladesh, the collective effort in responding to the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis — and the role undertaken by Rohingya refugees themselves — should be commended.
But despite this acknowledgment, we mustn’t be allowed to forget that the Rohingya shouldn’t be refugees at all — not the women, men and children who fled in 2017, nor those who fled in the successive waves of violence in previous decades.
The protracted exile of the Rohingya is simply unacceptable and unsustainable.
Diminishing hopes of returning home are pushing increasing numbers of Rohingya refugees, including children, to undertake perilous boat journeys in search of a future. Placing themselves at the mercy of smugglers and the treacherous waters of the Bay of Bengal, they are at risk of dehydration, starvation, physical and sexual abuse, and death. They do so, as many feel that they have little choice.
Today, it is more important than ever that we don’t look away from Rohingya, despite other emerging humanitarian and refugee crises in the world.
We must continue to support Bangladesh and other host communities in enabling Rohingya refugees to live full and dignified lives in exile. This includes providing them with greater access to education, skills training and opportunities for earning livelihoods.
Rohingya refugees, in particular the large proportion of youth among them, are resilient and resourceful. They want to rebuild their lives and ensure they are prepared for the future — including a return to their homes.
It is vital the international community continues to press for the rights of Rohingya in Myanmar.
They long for their homeland. They want to return but cannot do so unless conditions are safe, unless they can exercise their fundamental human rights — the right to move freely within their own country, the right to services such as education, livelihood and health care, and a clear pathway to citizenship — the rights so many of us take for granted.
In a conversation she had with the UNHCR in 2018, Gul had made clear what her wishes were: “I want to die on my soil,” she said.
Heartbreakingly, Gul passed away last year at the age of 94 in Bangladesh, her deepest yearning unrealized.
A life lived in limbo.
— Cate is also a council member of Earthshot Prize, which is “a global prize for the environment, designed to incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years”. There is going to be a summit in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies where Cate is confirmed as a speaker. It will be held on September 21st from 8:00am-12:30pm ET at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.
The Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit
The Earthshot Prize and Bloomberg Philanthropies previewed confirmed speakers and programming for The Earthshot Innovation Summit, which will take place on the morning of September 21, 2022 at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. The Summit, hosted by Michael R. Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions, will bring together heads of state, government and civil society leaders, philanthropists, business executives, and grassroots climate activists from around the world to spotlight emerging, systems-changing solutions and showcase the critical need to turbocharge ground-breaking climate innovations to address the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
Global Australian Awards 2022
Cate alongside her friend and co-host of Climate of Change podcast, Danny Kennedy, were presenters at this year’s Global Australian Award. You can watch them present at around 43:19.
Global Goals Yearbook 2022
Vanity Fair European Edition
Click images for higher resolution
Click the images to open the scans.
Vanity Fair France – September 2022
Vanity Fair Italy – September 2022
Vanity Fair Spain – September 2022
— Another movie with Cate that will be released this year is the stop-motion version of Pinocchio directed by Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Gustafson. Three episodes of Documentary Now premiered at Toronto International Film Festival last weekend.
On a sadder news, Pedro Almodóvar has pulled out of directing job in A Manual for Cleaning Women but Cate is still attached to star and produce under Dirty Films.
Meanwhile, TÁR continues to be part of film festival lineups. It will have it’s Australian premiere at Adelaide Film Festival, US West Coast premiere at Mill Valley Film Festival, it is also part of Orcas Island Film Festival lineup. There is a concept album to be released in October 2022 where Cate can be seen and heard conducting a rehearsal of Dresden Orchestra. Cate also did an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter while she was in Venice at the beginning of this month, the movie will be released on October 23rd in Sweden.
Cate voiced the monkey, Spazzatura. The movie will have it’s world premiere at London Film Festival on October 15th. You can buy tickets here.
Over the weekend, three episodes from the new season of IFC’s iconic mockumentary series Documentary Now! premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). And during a post-screening Q&A, it was revealed that we have Australia’s own Cate Blanchett to thank for its long awaited return.
In front of a sold out audience at the Scotiabank Cinemas, directors Alex Buono, Rhys Thomas, and co-creator and series regular Fred Armisen – all of whom met in the writer’s room on Saturday Night Live – talked about how Cate, who also appeared in the third series of the mockumentary, reached out expressing her interest in parodying an obscure British TV documentary.
Cate had taken a shining to the 1994 BBC documentary, Three Salons at the Seaside, which she discovered with her hair & makeup team while filming her FX series Mrs. America in Toronto, Canada.
The Cate Blanchett episode in question – “Two Hairdressers in Bagglyport”, which screened at TIFF – was filmed over four days at the original location of the documentary in Blackpool – redressed to match its original time period.
Having seen the episode, which unfolds like a beautifully written stage play, I can safely say that the persistence of Blanchett paid off – it’s one of the finest of the series to date. And, simultaneously, may be the most obscure documentary they’ve lovingly parodied.
Pedro Almodóvar departs A Manual for Cleaning Women
Oscar-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar will not be making his first English-language feature directorial debut with A Manual for Cleaning Women, which has Cate Blanchett set to star and produce under her Dirty Films, Deadline has learned.
The filmmaker finally had all the elements to realize the magnitude of this future production. However, he came to the decision that he’s not ready to tackle such a monumental project in English. A search for another director is underway.
The feature project was first announced back in January based on Lucia Berlin’s 43-part collection of short stories, examining the lives of women working a wide variety of demanding jobs.
“It has been a very painful decision for me,” Almodóvar tells Deadline. “I have dreamt of working with Cate for such a long time. Dirty Films has been so generous with me this whole time and I was blinded by excitement, but unfortunately, I no longer feel able to fully realize this film.”
Dirty Films producers Blanchett, Andrew Upton, and Coco Francini tell us, “We have the utmost respect for Pedro and his extraordinary body of work, and while the stars may not have aligned this time, we hope to collaborate with Pedro and El Deseo on another project in the future. Dirty Films’ passion for A Manual for Cleaning Women and Lucia Berlin’s unique and searing voice – full of danger, joyousness and loss – has not dimmed, and we are excited to continue this project with our partners at New Republic.”
TÁR at Film Festivals
Mill Valley Film Festival World Cinema Lineup. Showings on October 7th and 8th, tickets can be booked here.
Australian premiere on October 21st as part of Adelaide Film Festival Special Presentation lineup. Tickets here.
Orcas Island Film Festival runs from October 6th-10th, festival passes are nowon salebut no scheduled showing yet for TÁR.
TÁR (Music from and inspired by the motion picture)
TÁR concept album is set to be released on October 21st, an LP version will be released on January 20th 2023. You can pre-order at Deutsche Grammophon, JPC, Roan Records or Amazon.
Deutsche Grammophon presents Hildur Guðnadóttir’s exciting new film project – a groundbreaking concept album for Todd Field’s new movie TÁR, starring Cate Blanchett in the title role.
The multi-faceted concept album features music from and inspired by the movie, including a series of stunning new tracks by Guðnadóttir, as well as extracts from major works by Elgar and Mahler. It complements the film by presenting completed, real-life versions of the music on which we see the fictional protagonist Lydia Tár working. One of the aims of the album is to reveal something of the complex process that goes on behind orchestral rehearsals and recordings.
“The tracks, like the film, are meant to invite the listener to experience the messiness involved in the making of music.” Todd Field
Written and directed by three-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Field, TÁR tells the story of high-powered composer-conductor Lydia Tár, played by Cate Blanchett. The two-time Oscar winner immersed herself in every aspect of her character’s life and can be seen – and heard on the DG album – conducting rehearsals of a Mahler symphony with extraordinary skill. Her fellow cast members include talented young British-German cellist Sophie Kauer, whose playing also features on the concept album.
This is a Google translated interview from Swedish to English.
Cate Blanchett: “There’s a lot of unresolved anger in the wake of MeToo”
Almost 25 years ago, Cate Blanchett came to Venice for the first time with “Elizabeth”, where she made an unforgettable portrait of the 16th-century regent who “married England”. Now the Australian Hollywood star is back at the Lido with another majestic full-length portrait of a woman with enormous power in her world.
In Todd Field’s magnetic “Tár”, Blanchett plays a fictional star conductor who has mentor Leonard Bernstein at her back, stands at the peak of her career as a celebrated composer and is the first female chief conductor of the prestigious Berlin Symphony Orchestra. A demanding recording of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony is at hand. Lydia Tár is certainly married to the orchestra’s female concertmaster (played by the German Nina Hoss) but is much more loyal to her position of power – which she exploits wildly in private – than her wife.
Learning to conduct believably was the least of the challenges with “Tár”, says Blanchett.
– For me, “Tár” is not really so much about the conducting itself. For Lydia, it’s like breathing. It was simply about finding the right way to breathe. But it’s clear that I studied many conductors that I became quite obsessed with, from Carlos Kleiber who had such a tormented and ambivalent approach to his work – to women like Antonia Brica, Marian Alsop and my compatriot Simone Young, says Cate Blanchett at a hotel room with sea view on the festival island Lido.
She is dressed in a white summer suit that elegantly mirrors the expensive tailored suits her character wears in the film. Speaks enthusiastically in a voice that is slightly higher than Lydia’s deep voice.
– The most important thing was to understand the structures of the classical world and how orchestras work. It was so interesting to follow the development, from the autocratic times when the conductor’s word was law and then over the fall of the Berlin Wall when more democratic tendencies began to seep into this world as well. It’s clear that the classical music world is still very much about canon and hierarchies, but the dynamic has clearly changed.
Her character Lydia Tár stands in the middle of that process, and not unexpectedly ends up in a storm when she not only manipulates younger women for her own needs, but also suppresses students who question the canon, like Bach, for reasons of identity politics.
Was it time for a reverse method drama?
– There is a lot of unresolved anger to explore in the wake of MeToo, and it is something we are far from done with. The system still needs to be fundamentally changed. The cancel culture is part of this process. But for me it is still only one aspect of “Tár”. Todd, who also wrote the screenplay, did a huge amount of research for the film and I think he has found mined ground that is very exciting.
To the now classic question of whether you can separate the author from the work, Blanchett answers with an anecdote from the early nineties when she had just graduated from acting school in Australia.
– It is in many ways a generational issue. At 22, I was cast in a production of David Mamet’s “Oleanna” and was full of strong opinions about gender and power. The first time I read the play I threw it at the wall. Second and third time too. When we finally played it, it became an incredibly exciting and challenging debate among the audience. And probably a lot of divorces, laughs Blanchett.
– The lesson from that is that if we are to avoid everything that is controversial or disturbing in art, or authors who have behaved questionably, then we miss out on a lot, both experiences and a significant critical debate. God knows what went on in Picasso’s studio, but “Guérnica” is still one of the world’s most important works of art, and so on.
What is “Tár” above all about, for you?
– It’s almost hard to say, there are so many layers to it. Lydia is both perpetrator and victim of a system where men have been kings for so long that she constantly has to prove that she is capable. But I woke up this morning and thought that it is above all a meditation on power, she says and elaborates:
– It is not only about institutional power but also creative power. Conductors often call the orchestra their instrument, but at the same time it’s about many different individuals, says Blanchett, who received praise for her interpretation of the role.
– “Tár” depicts the trend breaking that takes place in a world where the collective has been hierarchically controlled but where the individual and how one identifies oneself has become a new factor of power, she says.
Having long run theater in Sydney with her husband Andrew Upton, she can easily identify with institutional power, but personally she is more interested in creative power and how to convey it to others.
– Often the most creative thing you can say is “I don’t know, yet” when people demand answers. But there’s a funny difference depending on who’s saying it. If a male director says it, people find it exciting. But if it’s a female director, people just get nervous, ha ha.
– That’s one thing I really appreciate about “Tár”. It asks questions, but does not judge.
Cate Blanchett is now a two-time Volpi Cup Best Actress winner. She previously won the award for her role as Jude Quinn in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, and last Saturday (September 10th) she has been the awarded the Volpi Cup for the second time for her role as Lydia Tár in Todd Field’s TÁR where she has been receiving critical acclaim. She is the fourth actress to win the award twice — joining Shirley MacLaine, Isabelle Huppert, and Valeria Golino.
Cate Blanchett with her Volpi Cup Award photographed by Greg Williams
Red carpet arrival 28:45; Volpi Cup for Best Actress Award 2:03:35
Congratulations to Cate Blanchett who was awarded the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress for her role in TAR by Todd Field on the closing night of the Venice Film Festival 2022. Greg Williams captured the Armani Beauty Global Ambassador celebrating in a vintage #GiorgioArmani look. pic.twitter.com/NWETgVxpiG
A week ago today, TÁR had it’s premiere at the 79th Venice Film Festival where the movie and Cate Blanchett had received rave reviews. It was reported that the movie received a standing ovation that went on for over six minutes. TÁR is an original screenplay by director Todd Field and his first film in 16 years. He said during the press conference of the movie that he wrote it for Cate Blanchett. Blanchett plays the titular character, the fictional Lydia Tár, who is considered to be one of the greatest conductor and is the first female conductor of a major German orchestra. The movie had also it’s North American premiere in Telluride this past weekend. Before it’s October 7th release in the US it will have it’s New York premiere on October 3rd as part of New York Film Festival main slate then it will be released across the globe around January-February 2023.
We have gathered video interviews and some of the reviews on the film. You can check them below.
On the first day of the festival, Cate Blanchett arrived where she did some interviews for TÁR then attended a dinner organized by Armani Beauty in honor of Regé-Jean Page, who is the face of Armani Code men’s fragrance.
79th Venice Film Festival – Day 1
Armani Beauty Dinner
Photographed by Greg Williams
‘Tár’ Earns Ecstatic 6-Minute Standing Ovation in Venice, Generating Instant Oscar Buzz
The 79th Venice Film Festival officially kicked off the fall Oscar race on Thursday afternoon with Todd Field’s “Tár,” a drama starring Cate Blanchett as a famous composer embroiled in a public scandal. The film was showered with an ecstatic six-minute standing ovation as the audience inside the Sala Grande Theatre kept chanting “Bravo!“
Clutching the hand of festival chief Alberto Barbera, Blanchett took a bow — but the clapping continued and even grew louder. When the applause finally ended, a misty-eyed Blanchett turned to someone on her team and said: “Let’s get a drink.”
Indeed, Blanchett’s work in “Tár” will likely be one of the most toasted performances of Oscar season. The enthusiastic reviews for the film all but guarantee Blanchett will land her eighth Oscar nomination for acting. (She’s already won two Academy Awards — for 2005’s “The Aviator” and 2014’s “Blue Jasmine” — but “Tár” is bound to stir up speculation that she could take home a third statuette in March 2023.)
Please be aware that some reviews and interviews with the cast and director include spoiler from the movie.
Cate Blanchett and her 'TAR' co-stars Nina Hoss and Noemie Merlant were given a warm welcome by fans as they arrive for the movie's world premiere at the Venice Film Festival #Venice79pic.twitter.com/tJG0wAfZhi
In Tár, Cate Blanchett Gives a Dazzling Performance as an Orchestra Conductor on the Edge
In writer-director Todd Field’s dazzling, uncompromising high-wire act Tár—playing at the 79th Venice Film Festival—Cate Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, a conductor at the top of her game, and of her world. We don’t see her struggling to be the best, or complaining about how hard it is to be recognized in a field dominated by men. In fact, she believes women conductors have no reason to complain about disadvantage or discrimination. While men often use money and power to fuel their sense of entitlement, Lydia stakes her claim on her own intelligence. She takes what she wants from people and leaves scorched earth behind. She’s great and awful in equal measure, so compelling you can’t turn away from her, but also touching in a way that never courts our pity. She’s unlike anyone we’ve ever seen onscreen, which may help explain why this is only Field’s third movie as a director, even though he has worked steadily through the years as an actor: he’s obviously a guy who waits for the right one to come along.
Tár, Field’s first film in 16 years, is extraordinary. It’s also, in places, disconcertingly chilly and remote, possibly the kind of movie that’s easier to love than it is to like. But people will surely be talking about it, and about Blanchett’s performance specifically. Blanchett, though extremely gifted, can be excessively mannered. (Her 2014 Oscar-winning role in Blue Jasmine is Exhibit A; she hits each Blanche du Bois-inflected note with tuning-fork precision.) But she can also be a performer of great, near-alien strangeness and beauty, and that’s the subterranean current she’s tapping as Lydia Tár. This is a willful, charismatic performance, stubborn and elegant as a vine.
Field’s previous two films were adapted from previously existing sources: In the Bedroom, from 2001, was drawn from an Andre Dubus short story, and Little Children, from 2006, was based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name. But Tár, he has said, was written specifically for Blanchett, and his surefooted direction makes the most of her every line and gesture. When Blanchett as Lydia stands before her musicians, she’s so open she may as well be listening through every pore. In her kingdom of woodwinds and strings, she can hear things we can’t, like the rush of wind beneath a bird’s wing—she knows intuitively whether that whoosh is too loud or too soft, and she can shift it accordingly. Blanchett learned to speak German, play piano and conduct an orchestra for the role, though what she does goes beyond mere research and memorization. Her movements are precise, definitive, balletic: Blanchett plays a woman who knows what she was born to do, and the thrill of it sets her eyes ablaze. Tár doesn’t offer anything as comfortable as redemption, and it asks us to fall in love, at least a little, with a tyrant. But how often do we see women portrayed this way, as magnificent rather than admirable? Lydia Tár is the antithesis of tote-bag feminism, not least because she knows that the power of a question is greater than that of a slogan.
Cate Blanchett is mesmerizing as a monstrous orchestra conductor in Todd Field’s latest masterpiece, one of the most grippingly brilliant films of the year.
Todd Field’s TÁR is a two-hour-38-minute slow dive into the increasingly alienating psychology of a world-famous orchestra conductor. It moves to a rarefied tempo: philharmonic politics, contested cello solo auditions and live-recording contract negotiations for one of Mahler’s more daunting works. It is replete with classical-music-world in-jokes and casually caustic namedrops that must mystify anyone who failed to graduate from Juilliard with honors before pursuing a doctorate in Advanced Stravinsky. It has absolutely no business being even remotely watchable, and yet here it is, one of the most grippingly brilliant films of the year, featuring, in Cate Blanchett’s mesmerizing central turn, perhaps the season’s first truly irreplaceable star performance.
‘Tár’ Review: Cate Blanchett Orchestrates Her Own Destruction
“TÁR” is so much more than the Great American Movie about “cancel culture” — a phrase that it humiliates with every movement — but this dense and difficult portrait of a female conductor’s fall from grace also demands to be seen through that singular lens from its very first shot. Todd Field’s thrilling, deceptively austere third film exalts in grabbing the electrified fence of digital-age discourse with both hands and daring us to hold onto it for 158 minutes in the hopes that we might ultimately start to feel like we’re shocking ourselves.
The “Little Children” maestro’s first movie in 16 years — and the only original screenplay he’s ever directed — isn’t quite the ultra-mordant satire you might imagine if someone just told you where its final scene takes place. On the contrary, Field has come back to us with a savage yet acutely sincere character study that’s slathered in a million shades of gray. “TÁR” tells the story of a trailblazing woman whose aspiration to embody the grandeur of the past makes her vulnerable to the uniquely modern pitfalls of the present. The film is every bit as brilliant and implosive as she is.
Cate Blanchett makes for a magnificent 21st century Icarus. Expertly weaponizing her inimitable gravitas away from art and towards predatory self-preservation instead, the “Carol” star commands the movie’s lengthy and unbroken scenes as if she were conducting them herself; as Lydia gradually loses her ability to modulate the tempo of the world around her, “TÁR” finds a sickening pleasure in the dissonance between a spiraling character and an actor in perfect control of her instrument.
We’ve seen Blanchett play women on the verge of a nervous breakdown before, but she’s never obliterated herself on screen with such concussive force. The controlled demolition of a performance she delivers here provides a more nuanced (and cautiously sympathetic) interpretation of the social dynamics behind the #MeToo movement than any male actor or character might be able to offer. It’s because of Blanchett that “TÁR” is able to elevate the uselessly outmoded paradigm of separating the art from the artist into the visceral portrait of an artist separating from herself.
Cate Blanchett May Have Found Her Magnum Opus in the Tremendous TÁR\
The film is loaded with references to high-culture figures, to literature, to music theory. It all sounds pretty impressive. Which is the point: how often have we been so glamoured by smarts and talent and accomplishment that we miss an obvious pattern, or disregard contrary narratives as bitter noise? TÁR offers itself up as instructive tool, diligently tearing down the specific mythos that Field has worked so meticulously to create.
Somehow, this all happens without the moralistic droning of a lecture. TÁR is breathtaking entertainment, beautifully tailored in luxe, eerie Euro sleekness by production designer Marco Bittner Rosser and cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister, and ominously scored by Hildur Guðnadóttir (who gets a little meta shout-out in the film). That fine craftsmanship is all anchored by Blanchett’s alternately measured and ferocious performance, a tremendous (but never outsized) piece of acting that is her most piercing work in years. Alluring and frighteningly vituperative, Lydia is a beguiling creation, all the more villainous for the beauty that birthed her.
From the get-go, then, Tár aims to disrupt conventional rhythms — as does its eponymous protagonist Lydia Tár (Blanchett), a celebrated classical conductor known worldwide for her unorthodox approach to music, but known only to her most intimate inner circle for personal dealings that cross the line from unorthodox to dysfunctionally toxic. She has every award available to her art, her lifelong dream job conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, a cavernous Architectural Digest apartment that she shares with her beautiful, gifted violinist partner Sharon (Nina Hoss) and their angelic moppet of a daughter — everything, in other words. And when has having everything ever boded well for a character? Tár feels jinxed from the film’s first full scene, an agonisingly obsequious onstage Q&A — played by Blanchett with a performative graciousness that feels wryly knowing and meta — in which her manifold achievements are trotted out like a list of potential charges against her.
Yet it takes us time to spot the makings of her downfall, in part because Field’s film so cleverly guards our access to her, gradually peeling away her shellacked layers of public decorum and lucidity and wit, making us — and, one feels, the forever surrounded Tár — wait and wait to get her alone. This isn’t a typically romantic portrait of unhinged genius: the maestro (and don’t you dare call her maestra) here has an implacable core of self-knowledge and self-belief that make her spiralling sociopathic impulses all the harder to square with her sleek-suited image. Suffice it to say that MeToo-era queries of abuse, offence and cancellation are raised in the film’s complex, prickly inquiry; you can probably guess that Field and Blanchett have no interest in tidy answers.
Not since Carol has Blanchett got to negotiate this degree of inner turmoil on screen; not since her Oscar-winning turn in Blue Jasmine has a part stretched to both the most icily contained and hotly raging extremes of her range. In a film expressly about the power granted by untouchable brilliance, hers makes this impossible moral minefield of a woman warm to the touch; the unpredictable tics and intricately detailed facial maps of thinking that she grants Tár make this nearly three-hour film consistently riveting, as tense as it is languid.
Cate Blanchett changes music and conquers Venice with the film Tàr by director Todd Field
The first noteworthy style is the look of our conductor, Lydia Tár, a.k.a the shining Cate Blanchett; a tailor-made men’s suit, a white shirt, the blond hair on her shoulders, freshly combed, and pale make-up showcased both on the podium and in the brutalist house she shares in Berlin with her violinist wife Sharon (Nina Hoss). In rhythm, in heartbeats, in the mathematical simplicity of music is defined Lydia’s imaginary life, told in Todd Field’s film Tár, which narrates the rise and fall of the Berlin Philharmonic’s film female conductor. Cate, good friend of the Venice Film Festival, whom she supported in attendance in the darkest moments of the Covid pandemic, returns to shine, with a role tailored to her legend: a eulogy of emancipation in a world as separate and non-inclusive as the world of classical music, but spiced up with the complexities of the decision-making and the dramas of the post #MeToo era. “My character”, said the actress, “is enigmatic, she confronts power and is at the top of her career, a loner in the female world. But her life is difficult, the big apparatuses and financiers press her; every time she must prove something more. Such a struggle exhausts her. It is always more difficult for a woman in a top position”. Tár is a film with a very broad and visionary ambition, for which the Australian Blanchett studied piano, an American accent, German, and posture to be able to conduct the orchestra from the podium in a credible way. Venice is already ready to beat time with her, Cate, an absolute icon who certainly mirrors Lydia’s passion, success, and eagerness to live.
TÁR has screened in Telluride, Colorado over the weekend and was well-received by the American critics. Coinciding with the US premiere is the tribute to Cate Blanchett and Q&A with her, Nina Hoss, and director Todd Field. While in Telluride, Cate also watched Alejandro G. Iñarritu’s new movie, Bardo.
Cate Blanchett: ‘TÁR’ Shows How ‘Legacy Will Be the Death of Your Artistry’
On Saturday night, after all 157 minutes of “TÁR” played, and a 20-minute highlight reel of her work was shown, the Telluride Film Festival finally brought out Cate Blanchett for a tribute that included awarding her the Silver Medallion, and having an onstage chat with her about the new film in front of an audience that included Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, James Gray, Karyn Kusama, Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand and the rest of Women Talking cast, Paul Mescal, and Phoebe Bridgers.
It was almost fitting to have “TÁR” as the focus of a tribute to Blanchett, given how the film sees her playing a highly accomplished conductor whose world starts to unravel, and actually includes an early scene where her character is also interviewed onstage, having to reflect on her body of work.
What Blanchett herself began to focus on was giving attendees an idea of what happens with performers behind the curtain. “The conductor’s that I spoke to and observed, talked about [an] extreme sense of nerves, and I know that inherently, from having years and years and years working on stage, is that I stand on stage, as I did before I came on here, the worst role you could possibly play is yourself,” said the actress. “I would much rather play Hedda Gabler. That is much easier than playing Cate Blanchett, whoever that is.”
Blanchett called “TÁR,” filmmaker Todd Field’s first release in 16 years, a process film. “I think it’s interesting. You don’t see the performance, you see the process of making something. And that process is indelicate and impolite and full of doubt. And I think that that’s the state that [Lydia Tár] is in personally, as well as professionally.”
She added “the thing that the audience doesn’t see, they think of performers as being supremely confident channels. And performers are riddled with doubt. And that the supreme act of bravery, is coming out and channeling the things through them, not for themselves, but for you guys.” While the enlightening sentiment moved Hathaway to tears, according to a couple of onlookers, Blanchett could not help but add a tag, using a jokingly vulnerable voice to say, “We’re doing it for you guys, it’s all for you.”
Speaking more on “TÁR,” Blanchett shared that she was immediately impressed with how Field’s script depicts an artist in preparation, saying “it was one of the most assured, clear, don’t-need-to-change-a-syllable screenplays that I have ever read in my life,” she also found his directing approach to be a pleasant surprise. “You couldn’t have hoped for a better collaborator than Todd,” said Blanchett. “Even though he’d written the screenplay, I’d say, ‘Wait, hang on, you said this needs to happen, too.’” His response to her would be, “Oh don’t worry about that, the writer wrote that. Don’t worry about it.”
Their collaboration was a long time coming, with Blanchett having been in talks to star in the film Field had been working on with Joan Didion in 2012. “It takes a great deal to get Todd Field to leave his barn to come out and make another movie,” said the actress. “And I think we’re all very grateful that he has done so. But he doesn’t do so unless he has something to say. And he has so much to say in this script.”
One of those things is a statement about legacy, something Lydia Tár is obsessed with. “As an artist, when you get to the top of Mount Olympus, if you’re a genuine artist, you have to blow it all up. Because legacy will be the death of your artistry,” said Blanchett. “So in the end, that’s what I found really noble about the character. But unfortunately, by blowing that up, there’s a lot of casualties. I think that’s the complicated thing about it.”
Cate Blanchett Earns Her First Award (of Surely Many) for TÁR
TÁR, which landed at Telluride after glowing reviews in Venice, sees Blanchett deliver a bombastic performance as the head conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, who has reached the highest pinnacle of success in her field. ??”She’d made a commitment to herself very, very early on that she would transform herself into something great,” Blanchett said of the character during the Q&A after the screening. “And then what you see in the film is the fact that she’s on that pinnacle, and the only next steps you can possibly make is down — and in artistic life, that is the greatest step you can possibly make.”
In the beginning of the film, the audience is let in on the many habits in Lydia’s life, from her tailored suits and ultra-chic Berlin home to her obsessive handwashing and her intense pre-performance rituals. Blanchett said that she was able to embody Lydia’s flaws because she relates to the anxiety that every performer faces before stepping out onto a stage. “I think that’s the thing that the audience doesn’t see — they think about performers as being supremely confident,” she said. “Performers are riddled with doubt, and the supreme act is coming out and channeling the thing through them, not for themselves, but for you guys.”
Blanchett elaborated more on the way that every performance is a risk, a feeling she’s had in her own work, especially when she’s performed in plays. “Sometimes it may not lift off, but that’s the exciting, dangerous thing,” she said. “And I think that’s the thing that people forget is there’s not some certainty that we know how to do this. Every single time you go on set, every single time you step on stage, every time you step on the podium in front of an orchestra—it may be okay, but it may not be the best they can do.”
And for the extremely small number of major female conductors, there are even more challenges. As Blanchett, who spoke to numerous female conductors in preparation for the role, pointed out: “When they step on the podium, 70% is a political act and they have to spend 70% of their energy pushing aside the fact that they’re female, simply so they can be musicians.”
The further you get into TÁR, the more you begin to realize that all is not well in the life that Lydia has built, and that her past misdeeds may be about to make her life unravel. In the era of #MeToo, Field is using this story to at least in part explore those abuses of power. “Artists are complicated people – they live in the gray areas,” said Blanchett. “And I think these are all the questions that the film asks: in the pursuit of greatness, what do we condone and who supports those things that might destabilize other people?”
Review: Cate Blanchett delivers a Telluride ‘Tár’ de force
When Cate Blanchett took the stage Saturday evening for her Telluride Film Festival tribute, right after a screening of her astonishing new movie, “Tár,” the audience must have enjoyed a bit of a chuckle. Most audiences that get a post-screening Q&A with Blanchett — and there will probably be a few in the months to come — will find themselves in a similar position. In “Tár,” Blanchett plays a world-renowned classical conductor named Lydia Tár, and one of her first scenes is a long, riveting and revealing conversation with the New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik (playing himself), held in front of a live audience.
It’s an instantly captivating sequence, fearless in its musical and intellectual rigor, that hard-wires us into the workings of Lydia’s formidable mind. We drink in her black-suited elegance and sense her initial guardedness, though any anxiety soon melts way as Lydia, as assured a speaker as she is a conductor, begins holding forth about her art, her love for Mahler and Bernstein, and her experiences studying, playing and conducting music all over the world. Her synapses fire like mad and her hands spring to inventive life as she describes her role in not just keeping but creating time, molding and sculpting it with a level of imagination that the audience will detect only as a sublime piece of music.
“Tár,” the third and finest feature directed by Todd Field (“In the Bedroom,” “Little Children”), keeps its own time beautifully. The movie runs a mesmerizing two hours and 38 minutes; I didn’t want it to end. It’s the story of a magnificent monster and her very public downfall, but what makes that downfall so persuasive is that it happens so gradually, and springs forth from some such quietly intimate roots. The story proceeds in carefully orchestrated movements, as it were, and each one of those movements draws us a little deeper into Lydia’s highly influential and rigidly hierarchical corner of the music world.
This is Field’s first movie in 16 years (and his first original screenplay, after two adaptations), and he unleashes what feels like close to a decade’s worth of pent-up, razor-sharp observations about the politics of the art world, the tensions of academia, the debate over cancel culture, the reckonings of #MeToo and, on a not-unrelated note, the ascendancy of women in creative and professional spaces long dominated by white men. And in this space, Lydia refuses — arrogantly, maddeningly and sometimes heroically — to bow to what she sees as prevailing liberal orthodoxies. Hailed as the first woman to conduct one of the world’s great orchestras, she nonetheless dismisses gender inequality as a significant deterrent to her success.
To play Lydia, Blanchett learned to speak German, play the piano and conduct music, but the brilliance of her work goes beyond the conventions of study, practice and research. It takes an actor who can seem, as Blanchett does, like both a gifted orchestrator and a finely tuned instrument in the same instance.
49th Telluride Film Festival – A Tribute to Cate Blanchett
Decades from now when historians are grasping to understand what “cancel culture” meant, they will turn to TAR. Actors, meanwhile, will still be studying Cate Blanchett’s best performance. This isn’t even a movie as much as a world that she just…inhabits. Remarkable. #telluride
TÁR is a mesmerizing work of art from Todd Field about the descent of a world famous conductor. Impeccably shot, edited & written. Cate Blanchett’s spellbinding performance commands your attention & suffers no fools. She’s simply operating on a level few others are. Astonishing! pic.twitter.com/0S6F6nLhOQ
There is life before TÁR and life after TÁR! Hands down my new favorite film of the year. A truly transcendent experience with an all time great performance by Cate Blanchett! It is so nice to have Todd Field back in the film world. #TellurideFilmFestivalpic.twitter.com/hpMDcHtWEy
Clips from DON'T LOOK UP (2021), VERONICA GUERIN (2003), BANDITS (2001), ELIZABETH (1998), I'M NOT THERE (2007), NOTES ON A SCANDAL (2004), CAROL (2015), BLUE JASMINE (2014) and THE AVIATOR (2004) https://t.co/VMz4sw0T3Dpic.twitter.com/wOy3lY1NPy
Today I saw Frances McDormand in a concessions line before a screening; eight hour later, Cate Blanchett gets a tribute award at #telluride. Between the three of us, we have five Oscars!! (Ps. CB will get another nom for #TAR). pic.twitter.com/cF9ShlCYjh
Cate Blanchett’s performance in TÁR is one of her best. Todd Field’s direction alongside Florian Hoffmeister’s cinematography are spectacular. This is by far the most excellently-crafted film and my favorite of the 49th #TellurideFilmFestival this far. pic.twitter.com/Q1BYqX8JnV
The brilliant and beautiful Cate Blanchett after Todd Field’s TÁR, which is a knockout. More on that soon (after I come back down to planet earth), but this is one of the best films I’ve seen all year (and my favorite thing in the #Telluride line-up so far). pic.twitter.com/dWdDjxJnQi
Attended the Focus Features brunch for #TAR & #ArmageddonTime. Cate Blanchett: approachable & lovely. Jeremy Strong and I talked at length about his performance in AT. Also pictured Todd Field (cap with Cate). Not pictured: James Gray, a literal fountain of cinematic knowledge. pic.twitter.com/hmCGqE0ML2
Cate Blanchett is now at Telluride, Colorado for the US premiere of TÁR and tribute from Telluride Film Festival. She is with Nina Hoss, who plays Sharon Goodnow, her partner in the movie, and director Todd Field. They took the traditional festival class photo with all the filmmakers who have films on the festival’s lineup.
TÁR, which stars Cate Blanchett as a high-profile orchestra conductor, will get an additional spotlight when Blanchett receives a tribute at the festival. “We could have tributed her a thousand times over from Elizabeth on, and the timing has not worked out ever, but in a way I’m kind of glad that this is the one because, to me, this is her best performance ever,” Julie Huntsinger (Telluride Film Festival executive director) says.
After the world premiere of TÁR in Venice, Cate Blanchett is Telluride-bound this time as Telluride Film Festival will be paying tribute to her — she will be presented with the Silver Medallion right after the North American premiere of TÁR. The tribute will be held tomorrow, September 3rd (6:30pm MT). The following day, September 4th, there will be Q&A with Cate, Nina Hoss, and Todd Field after the 3:30pm MT screening.
It’s not easy (or always advisable) to try to explain the difference between a movie star and an actor. But as we gather to consider and celebrate Cate Blanchett’s singular achievements, what follows might help.
Movie stars tend to play iterations of themselves with slightly different wardrobe. Their bold-faced names can be as marketable as the films in which they appear. Movie stars are brands, and rarely stray from the familiar. Audiences are likely to remember their action stunts as much as their performances.
Actors, as Blanchett’s body of work attests, abhor repetition. They’d rather disappear into a part than appear on a billboard. Actors are thrilled by risk and embrace, rather than avoid, difficult and problematic characters.
Blanchett played the self-absorbed role of morning TV host Brie Evantee in DON’T LOOK UP (2021) and as Phyllis Schlaflyin the miniseries MRS. AMERICA (2021); she also played a version of herself and her cousin in COFFEE AND CIGARETTES (2003). Actors deliberately partner with distinctive storytellers, not franchise custodians. And when it comes to stunts, their cinematic feats involve leaping into a role, not out of an airplane.
Blanchett now might be as recognizable as most movie stars, but she’s always been—and continues to be—an actor first (she prefers it over actress). As befitting her talent, she has worked with some of the most celebrated directors: Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, PeterJackson, Ridley Scott and David Fincher among them. She has won two Oscars, for THE AVIATOR (2004) and BLUE JASMINE (2013).
Yet Blanchett’s career and her artistic inclinations are perhaps better defined by the lesser-known yet nonetheless distinctive filmmakers with whom she has collaborated, often more than once: Terrence Malick (KNIGHT OF CUPS, 2015; VOYAGE OF TIME: LIFE’S JOURNEY, 2016; SONG TO SONG, 2017), Todd Haynes (I’M NOT THERE, 2002; CAROL, 2015) and Gillian Armstrong (OSCAR AND LUCINDA, 1997; CHARLOTTE GRAY, 2001).
Now, in what seems like a match made in cinematic heaven, Blanchett stars in TÁR, the first movie in 16 years from writer-director-actor Todd Field (LITTLE CHILDREN, 2006). In the film, Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, a world-renowned conductor and composer whose rise to the top was due to her fierce, uncompromising drive. Blanchett’s fearlessness is hardly limited to her acting choices. When Blanchett headed the Cannes Film Festival jury four years ago, she led a protest targeting Cannes’ constant dearth of female filmmakers. “The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all,” Blanchett said at the time. “Let’s climb.” We are right behind you.
TÁR’s premiere is upon us but before that Cate Blanchett has appeared on three different covers for Vanity Fair, while this is not the first time she has appeared on multiple covers for the same issue, this is the first time where it is multiple covers for three different countries (France, Italy, and Spain) released at the same time. Vanity Fair France, Italy, and Spain September 2022 issue go on sale today, August 31st. Check out the interview and photos below.
Vanity Fair France — We made this singular choice for the cover of this September Issue, with this portrait of Cate Blanchett photographed by the duo Luigi and Iango. The session took place in London at the beginning of the summer and each edition of Vanity Fair in Europe could choose its image of the Australian star for the front page. We let you imagine the debates within our editorial staff, on the framing, the intensity of the gaze and the chroma. Is black and white the subtraction of life and color? Or the multiplication of contrasts and emotion? We leave you to judge.
Vanity Fair Italy — Three different covers, an international diva and a couple of the most important photographers in the world. To celebrate the Venice Film Festival, Vanity Fair arrives on newsstands with a triple European special edition dedicated to Cate Blanchett, the artist who presents the film Tár in competition at the Venetian festival.
The actress was photographed exclusively by Luigi & Iango, a duo of star photographers with whom the magazine has started a collaboration that will see new and surprising chapters over the next year.
Vanity Fair Spain — The Australian actress returns to the big screen as the protagonist of Tár, the new film by Todd Field. Regarding her presentation at the Venice Film Festival, Antonella Bussi talks via video call with Cate Blanchett about this film in which she gives life to an orchestra conductor and where, among others, topics such as the culture of cancellation and the use of power.
VANITY FAIR European Edition – September 2022
This is a google translated interview from Spanish to English. You can find the link to the original text in Spanish, Italian and French below.
In Tár, Todd Field’s latest film, actress Cate Blanchett plays an orchestra conductor, a role for which she had to become familiar with a job traditionally attributed to men. It is one of the most anticipated projects among those that will be presented these days at the Venice Film Festival, and it deals with issues such as the fear of the passage of time, the abuse of power or the cancellation policy. Many times we have needed female examples that make us believe that evolution is possible, that male hegemony is a questionable totem. “In principle, the conductor should have been a man, in which case perhaps we would talk about it in another way. But the fact that she is a woman takes us into a space from which we can look at the issue more impartially,” the Australian tells us in our cover interview. Art has to be years ahead of society for us to visualize goals and imagine other possible futures. And for that we need the cinema, we need the stars that inspire us, we need Blanchett, sure of herself and sure of working with Field. There is always something exciting about mythical and unprolific authors. Every time they open their mouths we are sure that they will say important things.
If in September 2020, the first year of the pandemic, Cate Blanchett (Ivanhoe, Australia, 1969) presided over the Venice Film Festival jury with her resilient spirit, now, two years later, the actress returns to the Lido to compete in an edition that promises to be full of great stories and illustrious names. In the long afternoon video call that we share, Blanchett tells us about the topics that Tár addresses, the film in which she is the absolute protagonist. I log in ahead of time and am surprised to see that she’s already there. The black screen is named after Cate Upton. It is the surname of her husband, Andrew, the Australian playwright and filmmaker with whom she has been married for 25 years. She wears her hair up, glasses, a beige linen suit, and no makeup. Her voice sounds powerful: “I was looking at email,” she clarifies with her kitchen as a backdrop.
Tár is the long-awaited film by Todd Field, who returns to directing 15 years after his success with Little Children. Lydia Tár, the character played by Blanchett, is a conductor in full professional swing, but also a woman whose shadows are accentuated by the world in which she moves.
— Tár is a brave film. What was it that convinced you to play the lead?
— Look, first of all, it’s already rare for Todd to make a movie. So I wasted no time when he called me on the phone to tell me “I have a script”. And in general, I tend to be slow. I have a thousand things to think about and it takes me two weeks to read a script, but I devoured this one in 24 hours. It was very visceral. I felt that it was about something that affected my body and my spirit. That, coupled with the desire to work with Todd, was decisive in convincing me.
—How does one prepare to play a conductor?
— I asked a friend who is and I realized that it is a bit like being the center of the stage: if you do not have the perception of space, if you do not occupy it, the public does not follow you, does not know where to look or takes you seriously.
I have to be honest: on the one hand I was terrified like never before in my life. There was the pandemic, I had also lived through it, so the musicians had not played important works for a long time and, as if that were not enough, when I raised my arm to mark the rhythm I did it a little out of time. But then I realized that they needed me and I desperately needed them, and somehow the music would flow. I learned the gestures and I am unable to express how wonderful it is to feel how the music flows. It is an engaging experience!
—Indeed, it must be incredible that so many people depend on your gestures.
— All the conductors I have consulted have told me that you have to dominate the podium, you cannot show weakness. It’s a trick, like those of theater actors. You have to pretend that you know what you’re doing even if that’s not the case, it’s a question of leadership. In Australia, I participated in a leadership program and we wonder what it will be like to lead in 20, 30, 50 years. My suspicion is that being a leader will have to include the ability to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t know yet.” Have doubts and admit them. But nowadays the model is different: if you are a leader you have to say “I know, so follow me”. It’s a problem, but that’s the way things are today.
—Lydia, the protagonist, seems to experience in first person all those great issues that today divide public opinion. The first of them, that of age and the passage of time…
— Lydia is turning 50, a special moment in anyone’s life. At that point, you are aware of everything you have already done and wonder how much time you have left and what to do with it. You are at the peak of your life and your career. But what happens when you start to descend from the mountain? We always talk about success, but the path to get there is, without a doubt, much easier than that of relegation, that of failure. That is the theme of the film.
— Another issue raised by the film is the use of power by those who occupy a dominant position. Lydia, for example, uses her charisma to obtain sexual favors, to not always be correct or honest…
— Certainly. And clearly that is unacceptable. The power system can lead anyone to separate from herself. In principle, the conductor should have been a man, in which case we might talk about the subject in another way. But the fact that she is a woman brings us to a space from which we can analyze the matter more impartially. The world of classical music is one of masters, comparisons to composers of the past, and greatness that raises the question of what is allowed in the pursuit of excellence. The question is simple: “What are we allowed once we occupy a position of power? To what extent might the prodigies you meet have been corrupted by it? The film deliberately avoids giving an answer and perhaps doesn’t want to give one either, because questions are always more powerful than any answer. At this historical moment it is interesting to first understand what is happening, without judging. The power of art lies precisely in that: in helping us understand what is in front of us and only then allowing us to judge it.
—Lydia has a partner and an adopted daughter whom she loves and professes great tenderness. In it there is family intimacy but also an opposite desire, that of escaping.
— She is restless because sometimes, when things are going well for you, you feel the need to break them. For artists, creating something often means making something else die. Of course, that’s not what I do, but I get it.
—The film also addresses the issue of cancel culture, of suppression in the name of political correctness. What do you think about that?
— Making movies, music, theater or art is not a political act. What can become so is the way it is spread, digested and processed, but its production itself is not. In my opinion, the reflection that must be done is another: what do we study? I am in favor of studying how things happen in a historical context and asking questions. For example: how did women think at a certain time? Certain ideas today may seem dangerous, but erasing them and not talking about them can exacerbate the danger, because then we would be condemned to repeat the same mistakes. There must be confrontation and at the same time we must confront the systems that perpetuate abuse and prejudice. Only through these actions can progress be built.
—How much of Cate is there in the character of Lydia?
— Lydia’s character made me think a lot about what is allowed and considered acceptable in the pursuit of excellence. I recently spoke with an actress friend about how important Stella Adler, a great acting teacher, was for her career. However, today Stella would be “cancelled” and her methods would be considered excessively brutal. I think that in art a certain brutality is necessary, because if you want to stand out you must have a judge within you, be hard on yourself, have a strong critical sense of what you do. Who cares what others think, it is to their interior that any writer, actor, musician or painter must be accountable, to the point of always demanding more. But this way of generating excellence that we have used for decades no longer works because kindness is now required.
— But then what is the price of excellence?
— I do not know. And I don’t think I’m great. Excellence is my mistress, I court her every day, but she is very elusive!
— More than a lover, perhaps a companion.
— I hope so. However, excellence is different from success. I know many artists who have not received the recognition they deserve. That is the cruelty and riskiness of my profession. And then the obsession with legacy comes into play, as it does with my character. We see this in the Elon Musks of the world, capable of doing anything in order to leave a mark. There is a great human cost, as well as personal and artistic, in that. But what we leave to those who come after is totally out of our control and it is arrogant to think otherwise. You can only decide what you will leave to your children.
—Is it so difficult to know how to manage success?
—Someone told me at the beginning of my career that success reveals who you are, and I think it’s true because it exposes you a lot. But failure is an exceptional teacher.
— How do you survive failure?
— You can always be reborn, right? As long as you’re strong enough. T.S. Eliot said: “In my end is my beginning.” And there is always a new chapter, which sometimes requires a fall to exist. But humility is needed, another undervalued virtue. That’s why for me the film has an optimistic ending, despite everything.
— You’re going to Venice to attend the Venice Film Festival, a big event that we hope will encourage people to return to the cinemas.
— It will be great to go to Venice and, of course, I hope that the festival will help to fill the cinemas. It has been and continues to be a difficult time for everyone. One of little leadership and great economic instability. Women are always the first affected, they lose their rights and control over their bodies. This instability amplifies our desire to get together, listen to music, go out. And to go to the movies, where you find stories that also help to delve into yourself, into the person you are. With the pandemic we have had a great collective experience and we must realize that we are all in this together and we have to be humble.
—You speak of humility, but yours is a truly extraordinary life…
— I’ll tell you one thing: this summer there has been an incredible heat wave in Europe and we Australians are obsessed with water and how to conserve it. Five years ago we wanted to buy several large warehouses for our house in England and people thought we were crazy because it always rains here. But there had already been a drought in Sussex and now we are in this heat. Today I have been watering my raspberries at five in the morning using the water from the tank so as not to waste the main one. If we run out of water, no matter who you are or where you are, we are out of it. We are all connected and we have to be humble.
— From producer-writer-director Todd Field comes TÁR, starring Cate Blanchett as the iconic musician Lydia Tár. TÁR examines the changing nature of power, its impact and durability in our modern world.
Focus Features has released a new teaser trailer for TÁR, it just looks as enigmatic as the first one that was released a month ago. A poster and a new still were also released. The official website of the movie has already been updated today. You can follow TÁR’s social media accounts for updates which we will be linking below. Some countries already have release dates, it will be distributed by Focus Features in the US, then Universal Pictures for global distribution.
TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) has released their schedule. Documentary Now! premieres on September 10th at 9:15pm. Watch the trailer below.
Three new episodes from season four of the mockumentary series Documentary Now! — created by SNL alumni Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, and Rhys Thomas — receive their World Premiere.
In this world premiere, TIFF audiences will be the first to see three episodes from the upcoming season of Documentary Now! First up is a take on My Octopus Teacher, only this version stars English comedian Jamie Demetriou (Fleabag) as an animal-obsessed filmmaker in the episode titled “My Monkey Grifter.” Second is a warm-hearted homage to Agnès Varda, starring French actor Liliane Rovère (Call My Agent) portraying an aging director trying to recapture the thrills of her youth in “Trouver Frisson.” Third is a pet project of Cate Blanchett, who fell in love with the 1990s BBC documentary Three Salons at the Seaside, which she and co-star Harriet Walter fondly lampoon in “Two Hairdressers at Bagglyport,” about a beauty parlour full of secrets (that simultaneously evokes the Anna Wintour/Vogue doc The September Issue).
— Thom Powers, TIFF Docs Programmer
Documentary Now! TIFF Schedule. Click image to book tickets. Tickets go on sale for public on September 5th
According to La Biennale, press conference begins approximately at 11AM CEST. There will be two films in competition on September 1st, TÁR being the first to premiere. Todd Field has also released a director’s statement on La Biennale’s website about TÁR.
This script was written for one artist, Cate Blanchett. Had she said no, the film would have never seen the light of day. Filmgoers, amateur and otherwise, will not be surprised by this. After all, she is a master supreme.
Even so, while we were making the picture, the superhuman-skill and verisimilitude of Cate was something truly astounding to behold. She raised all boats. The privilege of collaborating with an artist of this caliber is something impossible to adequately describe.
In every possible way this is Cate’s film.
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