Magazine Scans and Interviews (TÁR)
Posted on
Oct 6, 2022

Magazine Scans and Interviews (TÁR)

Hi, everyone!

We have compiled the interviews that Cate Blanchett did the past few days as part of promo tour for TÁR. We also found the recorded Q&A from Screen Actors Guild (SAG) screening that happened last Sunday. There are also magazine scans from Harper’s Bazaar UK where Cate is the cover for the November 2022 issue, and Gramophone where she wrote a piece and shared her musical passion. Cate, with Todd Field, also visited the Criterion Closet the other day.

Series 2 of Climate of Change with Cate Blanchett and Danny Kennedy has just been released today. You can click on the link below to listen.

Photos and videos from the NYFF premiere and other appearances will be added on the site in a couple of days so stayed tune for more updates.

Beware of spoilers!

Cate Blanchett and Todd Field at the Criterion closet

Climate of Change with Cate Blanchett and Danny Kennedy

Cate Blanchett celebrates our natural world

Wearing a shimmering brocade gown and platform heels, a glacially imposing Cate Blanchett carefully picks her way onto the Bazaar cover set, which is taking place in a cavernous studio in north London. Behind her on a screen, a line drawing of a lunar underwing moth, projected to vast size, springs into sudden life. Blanchett shuts her eyes and undulates on the spot, her body seeming to morph into the moth’s, her arms swaying with the slow beat of its wings, their markings embellishing her dazzling dress. For a moment, superstar and artwork become one, captured in the snap of the shutter, as the insect itself might once have been caught and trapped under glass.

“You know, it took me a long time to feel comfortable being captured in a still image, but there was a kinetic quality to what we were doing that I loved,” Blanchett says.

That moment in the studio is the culmination of a project to create a special shoot for Bazaar’s 10th Art Issue, bringing together the actress and the artist Es Devlin, whose magical set designs, fusing sculpture and light, have animated fashion shows, theatrical performances, and concert tours for stars such as Adele and Beyonce?. “I think Es’s understanding of space is extraordinary,” says Blanchett admiringly. “The inside of her mind is so animating – you feel so alive in her presence, and the way she can turn a line of intellectual inquiry into something incredibly beautiful…”

The pair have more in common than a profound understanding of staging and how to make a visual impact. They are both passionate about environmental issues, hence their mutual keenness to collaborate; Devlin will show at COP27 this year, and her latest piece, Come Home Again, commissioned by Cartier and unveiled outside Tate Modern in September, celebrated London’s 243 most endangered species – birds, insects, animals, fish, plants and fungi. Each creature has been carefully drawn by hand, then enlarged, illuminated and mounted within a scaled-down, bisected replica of St Paul’s Cathedral. Every evening for 10 days, a different choir performed a version of evensong inside the artwork, their voices mingling with those of the birds and insects depicted.

“The first step towards these species remaining with us is for us to care about them,” Devlin tells me. “I sometimes spent 18 hours a day drawing them. It’s about paying attention, just observing, and being engaged in quite an intense way with these non-human Londoners.” She has brought a selection of her exquisite line drawings to our shoot, which a team of assistants are pinning up on the walls; there is also a huge model of a human hand, out of which birds and insects are springing (it’s a nod to the scene in Luis Bun?uel and Salvador Dali?’s surreal film Un Chien Andalou in which ants emerge from a human palm, but is celebratory rather than nightmarish, Devlin explains.) “These creatures need to have not only a place in conservation plans, but a place in our imagination.”

This is a sentiment with which Blanchett would doubtless agree. Last year, she starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in Don’t Look Up, the Netflix climate-change satire, and she recently launched her own podcast, A Climate of Change, with her friend Danny Kennedy, an environmental expert. Among the impressive roster of guests who have so far joined her are Prince William, the Prince of Wales, talking about his Earthshot Prize, and Don’t Look Up’s director, Adam McKay. Blanchett also recruited Kennedy to transform the eco-credentials of the Sydney Theatre Company when she and her husband Andrew Upton, the playwright, took over as joint artistic directors in 2008, installing solar panels and rainwater-collection tanks and ensuring that all of the sets were as green as possible.

“Often, the language around climate change is about sacrifice,” she says. “But when you go out to the theatre – or to a movie, or an art gallery – and you have an extraordinary time, and you laugh, and you cry, and you’re entertained, and you eat wonderful food, and then you think: ‘Oh my goodness, my carbon footprint was pretty close to neutral,’ that’s beautiful. If you grapple with these things creatively, you can have beautiful but practical solutions that actually benefit us all. It’s not a sacrifice – it’s an opportunity.”

It’s complicated to find time to speak to her after the photo-shoot, due to her punishing travelling schedule. At 53, Blanchett is more in demand than ever. She has numerous varied projects in the pipeline, from the sublime (Todd Field’s psychodrama Ta?r, in which she turns in a breathtaking performance as a renowned conductor) to the ridiculous (playing an inept Lancashire hairdresser in a mockumentary called Two Hairdressers in Bagglyport, in which she’s unrecognisable beneath a wig and false teeth). There’s also Borderlands, a sci-fi action film; Disclaimer, a thriller television series; and she’s shortly heading back to Australia to play a ‘renegade nun’ in The New Boy.

We finally manage to schedule a Zoom call at 7am, two weeks after the shoot. Blanchett dials in from a hotel suite in Venice, where she’s been attending the Film Festival. The night before, she had been partying at the Ta?r premie?re in black-velvet Schiaparelli trimmed with flowers; now, having overslept, she’s halfway through packing to fly to Telluride, in Colorado.

So, she’s heavy-eyed behind her big tortoiseshell specs, and throughout the conversation, her computer beeps constantly with incoming WhatsApp messages from the school mums, interspersed with alerts that Blanchett has set herself. “This is what my life is like,” she says, laughing at what she calls her ‘early-onset dementia’. “I set alarms all the time. It’s the only way I can remember to do things.” It is a brief but eye-opening glimpse into the intensity of her schedule, and it makes me feel rather sorry for her.

She wouldn’t have it any other way, however. “When I was young, I thought acting was something you did for fun,” she says, recalling how she and her sister would play dressing-up games as children. “Maybe I still think that? It wasn’t about building a career; it was doing these random things.”

“Being an actor has staved off the inevitable decision about what I have to do with my life, because I’ve empathetically stepped into various different experiences, whether they’re fantastical or based in the real world,” she says. “I think I’m probably quite shy, and I find that the best way to get to know people is through making things together. It’s a way of having very active, visceral, engaging conversations with people. It keeps me social.”

Blanchett may possibly be socially timid, but she is professionally courageous – hence the dizzying variety of the projects she’s undertaking. “If I pick up a script, and I can imagine myself [acting] it, I should put it down and let someone else do it,” she says. “Because I think the process of making it and, therefore, ultimately, probably, the experience of watching it will be thin. It’s much more exciting to be outside of your comfort zone.”

There is no doubt that her latest role pushes all her boundaries. Blanchett plays Lydia Ta?r, a gay, internationally renowned conductor of a German orchestra who gets caught up in a #MeToo scandal. The challenging film tackles the thorny issues of cancel culture, social-media manipulation and identity politics, while leaving the viewer free to make their own judgement on the justice (or otherwise) of Ta?r’s eventual fate. The script was written specially for Blanchett by Field, the acclaimed director of In the Bedroom and Little Children, and marks his return to the big screen after 15 years.

“I don’t think I’ve had as visceral a first read of a script since I read Oleanna and threw it across the room,” says Blanchett, who took the lead in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of David Mamet’s distinctly Marmite play in 1993. “When I read Ta?r, I had a similar response – what is this? I had no idea how to approach it. I said to Todd, ‘This is slightly overwhelming!’ And he said, ‘Well, you can only eat an elephant one spoonful at a time…'”

Ta?r’s downfall is precipitated in part when she clashes publicly with a student who refuses to perform Bach because of the composer’s treatment of his family. I suspect Blanchett would take Ta?r’s side in this particular argument, having herself faced questions about her decision to work with Woody Allen on Blue Jasmine (in which she turned in another scintillating performance).

“People often talk about left and right, up and down, right and wrong, good and bad. I don’t think in those terms,” she says. “Art exists in the grey area. I don’t know the answer to this question, but it’s a conversation that we must have, as artists, as humans, as a society. How do you remain in a robust and brutal relationship with the thing that you are making? You have to have a powerful inner critic, and sometimes that can come out. I have been spoken to in ways that now I could probably go to HR and complain about, but those conversations that were had with me early on in my career made me a better actor. It’s important we speak honestly with one another.”

She always looks for the flaws first, she says, when thinking herself into a character. “There’s an exercise you do at drama school, where you write down everything a character says about themselves; and then you write down what every other character says about them. Somewhere between those often contrapuntal, contradictory things lies some version of the truth. One of the phrases I just cannot say is ‘my truth’,” she goes on, suddenly outraged. “I mean, the truth is the truth, isn’t it? I think language is so important. ‘My perspective’ is one thing, but ‘my truth’? I don’t know what that is!”

Among her greatest challenges was being at ease conducting Mahler’s Fifth Symphony with a full orchestra, to whom she had to speak fluent German. As well as watching footage of Herbert von Karajan, Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel and other great baton-wielders, she spoke to Simone Young, the chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. “What women wear on the podium, how they stand – before you lift a finger, it’s a political act, and you have to spend 70 per cent of your energy pushing that aside, simply so you can be a musician,” she says. “The focus you need is twice what a male conductor needs, even now. So my friend said, just plant yourself there. I had to pull on my power pants, put myself on the podium, claim the right to rehearse, and not worry what they thought of me.”

Dauntingly, the Dresden Philharmonic’s programme schedule meant she had to conduct them on her first days of filming. (She had previously agreed with Field that she could ease herself in gently for the first week.) “I said to myself, maybe there’s a gift in that. It meant that I went completely inside Ta?r’s physicality, and what she was born to do, and I did that first, so I knew what was at stake and what she was going to lose.”

Because of the pandemic, the orchestra hadn’t rehearsed major works together for 18 months, instead performing socially distanced chamber pieces. Consequently, when Blanchett gave the downbeat, the musicians came in all over the place. “It was a blessing,” she says, with a chuckle. “We all laughed.” (Messing up early on is a trick she learned while understudying the Australian stage actress Kerry Walker, who told her: “On the first day of rehearsal, I fuck up so badly. Then they’ll think, ‘Oh my God, she doesn’t know what she’s doing,’ and they start to direct me.”) Frankly, however, Blanchett rarely, if ever, missteps; her performance in Ta?r has already landed her the Venice Film Festival’s Best Actress award and she’s now hotly tipped for another Oscar.

When I catch up with her for a final time, she’s back at home in the English countryside and looking considerably more relaxed, her reddish-gold hair swept up in a messy knot, shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows. Her family and domestic life must be a welcome antidote to the intensity of her career. She and Upton have four children, ranging in age from 20-year-old Dashiell, who’s studying film at university in the US, to Edith, still at primary school. “They enjoy a sense of anonymity here, which I’m grateful for,” she says.

I was once lucky enough to be invited to lunch with her there, and found the house large but not intimidatingly grand, the children forthcoming and friendly, and the atmosphere rather Larkin-esque, with home-made cakes on the kitchen table and pigs and bees in the rambling garden.

During lockdown, the Uptons bought a mini electric jeep to amuse the children; when I ask how Blanchett relaxes, she laughs about driving it around the garden with the dogs in the back. The previous afternoon – “I’m going to sound like Felicity Kendal,” she warns – she had donned a linen apron and wandered up to her greenhouse to decant honey, pick apples and cut sunflowers, and was almost late for the school run as a result. “I completely lost track of time,” she says. “It’s a humbling experience, trying and failing to grow things! But then, when you get seven strawberries, suddenly everyone’s so excited, and you’re like, who wants half a strawberry?” She pushes her hair back from her forehead and grins at me, touchingly enthusiastic. I reflect that it is this ability to wholeheartedly inhabit every role she takes on – whether that’s screen icon, earth mother, complex fictional character or even a moth in a work of art – that makes Blanchett by far the most compelling actress of our age.

Harper’s Bazaar UK Photoshoot
Harper’s Bazaar UK Photoshoot – Screencaptures

TÁR Interviews and Q&A

You can listen to the WNYC Radio interview with Cate and Todd Field:

Cate Blanchett Calls Playing an Orchestra Conductor in Tár “the Most Transformative Moment of My Life”

Fresh off of winning the best-actress prize at the Venice Film Festival last month for playing a fictional world-renowned conductor and composer in the psychological drama Tár, Cate Blanchett says her latest movie felt the most “urgent” to make in her storied career. The film, written and directed by Todd Field, explores contemporary themes that have made headlines in recent years, including the #MeToo scandal, the abuse of power, and cancel culture.

“There are a lot of explosive things that come up in this film and societal hot-topic issues that made this cinematic endeavor feel urgent and undeniable to make,” Blanchett said at the film’s New York Film Festival premiere screening Monday night. “Todd Field’s screenplay raises monumental, dangerous questions that the world is dealing with as of this moment. The film can be quite uncomfortable. It can be politicized and disseminated, and some may even feel disgusted by the characters, but at its core this is a nuanced, intimate, human story of a woman that synthesizes many things. It can be said it’s an examination of power, but for me, I want audiences to make their own interpretations and inspire lively debate.”

Blanchett stars as Lydia Tár, the first woman conductor at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic, the major German orchestra that is considered to be the world’s greatest. Her great talent on the orchestra podium and her keen musical scoring have earned her EGOT status, among other accolades, and made her a master class guest lecturer at Juilliard, with a memoir on the way. She is at the pinnacle of her career and wields great cultural power. She begins to crack when the family of a female former student accuses her of sexual misconduct, threatening to derail her career and success.

Like Lydia Tár, Blanchett, a two-time Oscar winner, is at the height of a long and distinguished career. As with Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator, and more, she’s once again earning rave reviews and strong awards buzz for her performance in Tár, which hits theaters on October 7. When asked how she handles fame, Blanchett admitted that “it’s not easy” being in the spotlight.

“It’s taken me a long time to deal with fame. I come from the theater. I never expected to have a film career,” said Blanchett. “It’s uncomfortable to be looked at. It really is. But it’s such a privilege and a pleasure to have had all the opportunities I’ve had in my career.”

To portray a highly lauded orchestra conductor, Blanchett studied the technique of holding and moving the baton, which is called stick technique, by collaborating with the Dresdner Philharmonie, a German symphony orchestra based in Dresden. She acted as the lead conductor by rehearsing Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, the same piece her character grapples with in the film, alongside the orchestra. The Australian star admitted the experience was a daunting task.

“To beat with one hand and shape the sound with the other hand was difficult. It’s such a mix of different skills and emotions,” said Blanchett. “But I must say it was the most transformative moment of my life. There’s this intense feeling of an electric charge, giving the downbeat and hearing this big sound coming back at you. It’s something that I’ve never experienced before. In that space, standing at the podium, you really do feel like you’re the king or queen of the world.”

Cate Blanchett Says ‘TAR’ Is “About The Corruptive Nature Of Power”

“I think the film is also about many things, but it is a medication on the corruptive nature of power,” Blanchett says. “I think, in the same way that the mobile phone influenced the way narrative unfolded, we haven’t even processed the ramifications of the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, and the pandemic. We are altered by these things, positively and negatively. Already, the #MeToo movement is talked about in pejorative, negative terms, as much as had a profoundly positive effect in awakening people’s consciences. But we’re changed by it. And so, any film that is alive now will have reverberations with those things that have happened to us as a species. This film is no different. But it’s not about that. You know what I mean? But of course, it’s a texture and influences the atmosphere in the film.”

Over the course of our conversation, Blanchett discusses her inspiration for Lydia, how she learned to conduct a major orchestra, whether her mother is a fan of her character in this particular film, and, much, much more.

The Playlist: Thank you so much for taking the time. I know it’s been a long day for you of doing press, so I do appreciate this.

Cate Blanchett: No, no, no. I can’t tell you. It’s been such a pleasure to sort of begin to talk about the film. Any film that I’ve ever been involved in to somehow define. It’s so elusive and about so many things, so yeah. It’s been actually really helpful to try to understand the beast.

TP: The film tells us so much about Lydia, but in many others ways, it doesn’t tell us a lot about her, at least parts of her life. I don’t want to spoil anything for people who are reading those before they saw the film, but we obviously learn things about her that we might not have initially suspected.

CB: Yes.

TP: Were there things that Todd told you about her backstory specifically or did he sort of just give you the script and let you fill in the blanks yourself?

CB: Well, like when you read any great screenplay, it asks so many questions, and so much of the information is there, not necessarily readily accessible on the first read. But as you begin to mine the script, a lot of that material is there. And so, Todd didn’t tell me much. Initially, our conversations were intensely practical, because before I could get to even first base with playing the role, there was so much groundwork that I had to do in order to be able to play the scenes, in order to even approach who she was, just technical stuff, in terms of languages, and I don’t just mean German. The musical language and reigniting my ability to read a score and revisiting piano, and then, of course, the art of conducting, which I had to put my toe in that very deep and complicated water. So, it was very practical at first.

And then once we got closer to time, I started asking a lot of questions. This is where he’s such a great director is he was more interested in me finding my own way to it. He didn’t want to give me a ready easy answer. And in my time with any great acting teacher that I’ve worked with or any great sort of public intellectual or academic, they always ask you a question which provokes another question within you. So he would throw ideas into the mix as we were shooting, things that didn’t necessarily end up in the final edit of the film, but made the back story for Lydia so alive. And I think, I hope, for an audience, that’s what makes her such a rich character. So he was really judicious about what he said. He was sort of waiting for me to unearth those jewels if you know what I mean.

TP: Absolutely.

It was one of the most intense and kind of landscape-changing, groundbreaking, whatever the description is, collaborations that I’ve ever had. It was so dynamic and alive.

TP: I caught a recent interview you conducted where you thought that the idea of learning how an actor learns how to conduct or whatever is sort of boring, and you were wondering why people would be so curious.

CB: No, no, no. I didn’t mean that at all.

TP: Oh.

CB: I don’t want the audience to see my homework. You know what I mean? You want them to be transported and to believe absolutely that this person is one of the world’s greatest conductors. So I had to do that homework, but I don’t want the audience to be taken out of the movie thinking about that stuff. Do you know what I mean? That’s what I mean. I don’t want to break the spell of anything that Todd has created by over-describing the process.

TP: Which I totally respect and understand. It actually goes to my question. You have these scenes where you are conducting symphonies and rehearsals and it starts and it stops as any rehearsal would. And I know that you worked with conductor Natalie Murray Beale, but what was the mechanism to make that work on set? Clearly, you did not want even a casual classical music fan would go, “Oh, that would never happen like that.”

CB: Exactly. It’s not a film about conducting. You have to know that conducting is as natural and essential to Lydia Tar as breathing is. I was fortunate. I was working in Budapest and I was taught piano by an incredible concert pianist, and I learned a lot about the process of conducting from her. And Ilya Musin, who’s one of the great conducting teachers, it’s amazing what you can find in YouTube, particularly during a pandemic when you couldn’t meet face to face. I watched his master classes over and over and over again to understand the concept of what the right hand did and the left hand did. The woman who was teaching me German teaches German to opera singers, Francisco Roth, and so she was really across the musical language and the relationship of the conductor to the orchestra. And so, I had all these amazing people, various different points of insight, and also then, for me, having gone to a lot of classes of music concert myself and having heard the music, I then watched every single conductor I could get my hands on from different generations, from different cultures in different sized orchestras, their different way in to see. I realized very quickly that their form of communication was entirely idiosyncratic, and then there are textures in the film which aren’t, as I said, in there.

I imagine that she was the child of deaf parents, so how does sign language influence the way she conducted and her relationship to sound? She has an acute sensitivity to sound. But it wasn’t until I did all that homework, it wasn’t until I stood up in front of the Dresdner Philharmonie who were profoundly generous with … Even with the entire cast and crew. When you raise your hand, you get the downbeat, and the sound starts, and you find your own way with them. So, they had to act. It was outside their comfort zone, and I had to conduct them, which was also outside of my comfort zone. And so, somewhere, like any conductor in any orchestra, somewhere between us, the music happened. And of course, there was a lot of groundwork that needed to be done in terms of selecting [the music]. Todd had written these rehearsal scenes, but then Natalie and I went through them all and said, “Well, what about this piece? This piece with 19 bars would be great and there’s a dynamic counterpart to the previous six bars that we’ve done in rehearsal.” So then, we suggested those pieces to Todd and he edited them, and then I just listened to them on repeat, on repeat, on repeat. And of course, listened to all symphonies to see how this one differed or echoed, and read a lot about Mahler, because trying to delve into the process that great conductors do, which is to give a context and a take on the music.

TP: Thematically the film is tackling a number of subjects, but it really touches on the recent trends of the #MeToo movement and cancel culture. Did your own opinions on those topics influence your portrayal of Lydia, or is it more Todd’s voice in that regard?

CB: It’s many things. There’s a line in the script where it says right at the beginning that, “Lydia Tar is many things,” and that she’s had a varied career. I think the film is about also many things, but it is a meditation on the corruptive nature of power. I think, in the same way, that the mobile phone influenced the way narrative unfolded, we haven’t even processed the ramifications of the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, and the pandemic. We are altered by these things, positively and negatively. Already, the #MeToo movement is talked about in pejorative, negative terms, as much as had a profoundly positive effect in awakening people’s consciences. But we’re changed by it. And so, any film that is alive now will have reverberations with those things that have happened to us as a species. This film is no different. But it’s not about that. You know what I mean? But of course, it’s a texture and influences the atmosphere in the film.

TP: Many actors will say that no matter what your character does or has done, you have to believe in them or at least try to understand what they’re thinking so that you can play them. Did you inherently think that Lydia was a good person, or do you feel like everything she has done has been for her own benefit?

CB: I don’t think about things in terms of good and bad. My mother had said to her friend, because my mom has seen the film, she warned her friend, “You won’t like her.” But I think it’s more accurate to say that you may not want to like her because Lydia does things that we could all possibly do ourselves when no one is watching, and she’s very charismatic. The personalities of conductors often cement their reputations. She’s also enigmatic. She’s also human. And so, it wasn’t about me thinking she was good or bad, but I did understand her. The “liking” her or thinking she was good never came into it for me because I find that quite a general way to look at someone or a situation. I like this. I hate that. I understand the sacrifices and the compromises that she had to make to get where she got, and also I understood how brutal and how disciplined she had had to be with herself, and also often with other people because when she felt that they were holding back because of fear.

I think that the tragic thing is that once she’s got into a position of power, once anyone gets close to power, just how seductive it is and how difficult it is not to be changed by it, and how desperately one can want to hold on to it. Peter Brooks says this fantastic thing, that, “You’ve got to hold on tightly and let go lightly.” But that’s really difficult. Look at all of our politicians. Once they’re in power, they spend most of their time trying to hold on to it as a flame, and we’re moths, and it takes an inordinate inner strength and an incredible spirit to let go of power. So, I think I was trying to understand that situation.

TP: Does it bother you if people ask you if you based Lydia on anyone you know?

CB: No. No. No one person in particular. I looked at the tortured nature of Carlos Kleiber. One of my favorite conductors is Bernard Haitink. I’m absolutely inspired every single day by Nathalie Stutzmann, who’s been a contralto who’s now moved over into conducting through being a singer, and she’s about to take over in Atlanta, which is really exciting. There’s an incredible, very rough, raw documentary about Antonia Brico. I thought about [Herbert] von Karajan and [Claudio] Abbado, all of these people, [Valery] Gergiev, how politically compromised he has become to get how massive his career is and his conducting style.

So, it was sort of all of those, all many of those people, and then also I thought about the CEOs of major banking corporations and massive architects who don’t necessarily make the work anymore, but are across the construction of buildings, and how, in my own experience, I think running a major cultural institution, how you can get isolated from the artists that you’re working with because you have a corporate responsibility as much as you have a creative artistic responsibility. So there were a lot of things that were coming into play with me, but it wasn’t based on any one person in particular.

TP: When you saw the final film, what did you come away with the most? What was your reaction to how it all came together?

CB: I didn’t see dailies at all. It was fast and furious. I was so kind of inside the experience with Todd and with Nina and everybody. I saw it with my husband, thank goodness. I fell into the film, which I think is a testament to Todd’s filmmaking. I just thought there were some things that we shot that are no longer in there, but they’re sort of homeopathically in there. If that makes sense.

TP: It does.

CB: And the first time I read the script, I found the end quite tragic, but I was so uplifted by the end. I thought, “I really want people to see this,” and I wanted them to see it in the cinema. I was bowled over by the sound as well, and the silence. One of my favorite parts of the “Mahler’s Five,” for instance, is the silence at the end of the scherzo before the adagietto begins. I feel Todd’s use of silence was really powerful when in a film about music. So, there were so many parts of it that I felt like I wanted to go back and watch it again. He’s such an extraordinary filmmaker. I feel so, so deeply lucky to have worked with him.

Full article on The Playlist

Cate Blanchett on Learning How to Play Piano and Conduct for ‘Tár,’ How Movie Depicts the ‘Corrupting Nature of Power’

On the red carpet at the North American premiere of “Tár,” Blanchett spoke with Variety about the parallels between Lydia Tár’s ferocious musical ambitions and her own illustrious acting career.

“Any parallels between my experience and her experience will just be there,” Blanchett said. “I had the experience of running a major cultural institution. Lydia is an artist, too. She’s a musician running, as the film describes, one of the greatest orchestras in the world. With that comes a lot of corporate responsibility, which can have an impact on your relationship to what it is that you do as an artist.”

Blanchett, a two-time Oscar winner for her roles in 2005’s “The Aviator” and 2014’s “Blue Jasmine,” said that she “understood that dynamic” despite not being a musician herself.

“All of the musical terms, the relationship to the score, the ability to conduct and play on the piano — all that stuff I had to learn,” Blanchett said. “Her experience is quite different, but you don’t have to be an artist to understand the corrupting nature of power.”

During a Q&A discussion that followed the “Tár” screening in Alice Tully Hall, Fields revealed that he wrote the entire script with Blanchett in mind — long before she agreed to sign on for the film. The second person to join the project was composer Hildur Guonadóttir, who previously won an Academy Award for her work on “Joker.”

Cate Blanchett and Todd Field on Method Acting, #MeToo, and the Movie Theater Crisis

“TÁR” has a lot going on. Director Todd Field’s first feature since 2006’s “Little Children” is an immersive acting showcase for Cate Blanchett, who plays the revered Lydia Tár as if her life depended on it. As the composer overseeing a symphony in Berlin when a scandal derails her career, Blanchett inhabits the character in every scene with stunning precision. Unlike Field’s previous work, the movie is a slow-burn immersion into Lydia’s world that often verges on documentary when it isn’t an unsettling psychological thriller or a pitch-black comedy of errors.

Beyond all that, “TÁR” is a treatise on modern times. Lydia’s experiences with social media and repercussions for her actions register as an angry response to the age of accountability. Yet even as the movie premiered to raves Venice and Telluride, Field and Blanchett have been careful about how much they have addressed these issues in limited press for the movie.

The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

IndieWire: This movie is saying a lot about the world we live in today. It must be hard to discuss in interviews.

Cate Blanchett: There’s so much to talk about.

Todd Field: There’s a lot to talk about.

CB: Yet it’s one of the hardest movies I’ve ever had to talk about, because it’s so hard to define. It’s about so much.

So much about “TÁR” is built around Cate’s performance. Todd, how much did your initial script change as a result of her involvement?

TF: I sent Cate the script and I’d written the script for her. I didn’t really have to any language to give her. It just started a very immediate, rich conversation between the two of us in September 2020 and we’re still having it.

CB: The character came out of those rich conversations. When I read it, I was so daunted by the ask of it — not just what was necessary to play the character, but also the depth of questioning in the screenplay and my relationship to it, which kept shifting depending on which scene we were shooting or which relationship we were focused on that day.

When the cast started to come together, Nina Hoss elevated it yet again. Then Hildur Guðnadóttir got involved to do the music, and I thought it doesn’t get much better than this. My job was not just to rise to the occasion of the screenplay but the quality of the people I was working alongside.

Did you bring Lydia Tár home with you?

CB: Well, the pandemic was still on and my kids were not as free to come and go. It was really very lonely in a strange way, and running a major cultural institution is a very lonely experience. That was life imitating art. There was much to do in terms of the conversations that Todd and I were having. As we got on, we would occasionally have the odd dinner. In a film that is asking big metaphysical and existential questions, it was a very practical experience. The night before he’d be prepping and talking about what needed to be done the next day. Yet when we were working with the Dresden orchestra, I woke up with my hand in the air, moving sound.

TF: We even tried to bring that into the film. There was a certain point where we had her do that.

CB: Work dreams. We’ve all had those.

Where do you fall on Method acting? Did you try to stay in character between scenes?

CB: There were some parts of the character’s situations or intensity of the focus that I didn’t quite drop in between setups. I don’t know if it’s from spending years and years onstage, but I have the ability to be objective and subjective simultaneously. You have to know where the camera is: OK, I’ve got to rotate more than three quarters because otherwise you’re not going to see into my eye and that’s really important.

At the same time, you have to allow this thing to flow through you. Todd always has the camera in the right position. So when he was setting up, I saw the position of the camera as a proscenium: If I stand stage-right, it’s going to mean something profoundly different than if I’m center-stage left. You were very generous about letting us know what the frame was so we know how best to use it.

I don’t know if you find this, Todd, but for me, it’s not so much that you take the character home each night. It’s more about you focus on when you’re walking on the street at night during the odd day off we had. I would hear things differently. I’d come into a room and notice the curtain as opposed to the bathroom. Your focus shifts.

TF: The whole world starts talking at you based on the thing you’re working on.

CB: Which is a privilege, because you are seeing the world from a different point of view.

And that point of view deals with a very sensitive subject in this movie — essentially cancel culture. The character is put on public trial due to reports about her behavior. How much did you see this story as a microcosm of larger issues?

TF: The classical music world is a rich and interesting one for me, but in terms of the story, it’s a backdrop. It could’ve been any kind of pyramid scheme, any kind of power structure. It could’ve been a multinational corporation or an architectural firm. Pick your poison. In all our conversations, we talked about this examination of power — how we look at power and how we decide the way we look at it.

CB: And who benefits from it.

TF: If you really want to talk about power and the long reach of history — the abuse and complicity of power, how it corrupts, all these clichés we’ve grown up with — you have to reckon with the idea that there is no black or white. To find the truth of something requires a little more rigor.

There’s a scene where Lydia is a guest lecturer at Juilliard, where she takes a young student to task for resisting Beethoven and Mozart because they were white men with questionable personal lives. Was this based on something real?

TF: I have friends that teach and that’s one of the inspirations behind the scene. There’s another bigger idea behind it, which is what you would tell your younger self. The student is representative of who Lydia Tár was coming out of Harvard at 24, wanting to push the boundaries, wanting to do experimental music, wanting to bust up the establishment, but she’s gotten past that. She’s at another point in her life. It’s like she’s saying, “Yes, there’s this, but it’s not mutually exclusive.”

It doesn’t go very well for her.

TF: In terms of talking about power in a more thorough way, what’s potentially troubling is when conversation is extinguished and we don’t have the ability to walk in one another’s shoes. I don’t need to be a cobbler to understand whether my shoes fit or not. We all have the ability to try to see someone else’s point. My older son wanted to go study rhetoric at Berkeley. It’s one of the oldest schools in America where you can do that. The idea of debate as a healthy part of social discourse is so fundamental to Western civilization and the idea that it would be extinguished or somehow neutered is frightening.

Cate, when did you start to be more cautious about how you discussed ideas in public?

CB: I’ve always been cautious about interfacing with the media. I’ve always been very private. There are not a lot places where you can have nuanced debate about complicated issues. We haven’t even processed what’s called “The Black Lives Matter #MeToo Moment.” What do you mean? It’s not over. We’re still living through this.

A huge part of that process is rage. If it’s channeled correctly — if heard and understood and listened to — rage is a really, really important transitional tool and is totally understandable. I feel like we’re in a moment of profound transition, which is terrifying for some people. But we’re used to the churn of change because we’re making things.

How do you feel about the way people, as well as storytelling, can be judged through a moral framework?

CB: I think there are certain behaviors that are intolerable. But when it comes to things like banning books, you have to understand the context under which these books were written, even if they may not be your taste. You may find them offensive, but let’s talk about why. I’m much more interested in igniting the conversation with people who think differently than shutting the conversation down.

TF: It’s the times we live in. This is not a social treatise on this moment we’re having. It’s an interesting conversation to have. That scene in the classroom is just the reality of what we live in. The important part of this scene for that character is having a conversation with herself that she’s not successful at having.

CB: She’s been trying to sweep it under the rug. We’ve been talking about origin stories a lot – the connections that conductors have to their mentors is incredibly important in cementing their unassailable right to play their music. But a lot of Lydia’s origin story is invented. So what does that mean? Does she not have a true connection to her origin story or does this one allow her access to a space that unleashes her talent?

When you first started getting attention for your roles…

CB: Did I make shit up? [laughs]

Or feel like you were being judged in ways that were beyond your control.

CB: It sounds a bit like a copout to say that it was a different landscape, but it was that. I came to making films very late. In dog years, my career was almost over as an actress. My first role was when I was 25. I didn’t expect it to continue. I thought I had five years. I thought at 35 that they put you out to pasture as an actress. That’s certainly changed. That’s because women are at the helm more. They’re not the exception anymore. There are a lot of female-driven narratives. I hate that term. I think there are a lot of good women making good shit that’s being seen. They’ve always made it.

TF: If you look at the birth of Hollywood, the great filmmakers that are long-forgotten are female, as were the great screenwriters and editors. There was a shift in Hollywood after the pre-Code days where it became much more patriarchal. But the origins of Hollywood and narrative filmmaking really began with women.

CB: But it was also international. I think one of the world’s greatest filmmakers was Larisa Shepitko. She only made a handful of films, but my god, I can’t unsee the movies that she’s made.

Since you bring it up, does this mean you plan to work with more women directors?

CB: It’s so random what we end up doing. A lot of it has to do with family and time and who approaches you and when you’re available. It was immaterial to me what gender Todd was. It was just the conversation.

Todd, it’s been 16 years since you made your last movie. How much has the industry changed since then?

CB: You used to do interviews on phonograph, didn’t you?

TF: Direct to disc. [laughs] I mean, nothing has changed about making a movie. I think the world for cinema-goers has changed drastically in a way that I probably needn’t add to. Other people have said it at least as well or better than I could and have been attacked or inflamed for it. But let’s put it this way. I went out to tech theaters in New York today and it was really depressing. Super depressing.

Because of the projection quality?

TF: No. At the beginning of the pandemic a lot of us put in what we could to try to support independent repertory houses, the arthouses in America. We knew that since their margins were so close anyway that there was a good chance they’d close up and die. Should that happen, we’re all in real trouble.

We’re very lucky we have a place like the New York Film Festival 60 years and going or a place like the San Francisco Film Festival that’s the oldest film festival in America, but most people can’t get to those things. What about having a single-screen house you can go to? They’re disappearing. So now you’re showing a film somewhere with paper-thin walls where you’ve got a different kind of movie bleeding over into your house, with seats that you can’t really sit in, screens that aren’t maintained, and an infrastructure that has no love at all. You’re a long way from New Yorker Films or something like that.

CB: But go and see this movie in the cinema! [laughs]

TF: I may be sitting here shilling for this movie, but this is something that absolutely has to be addressed: the fact that there is not a standard. It’s one thing to rail on about the death of film and how we have to keep the photochemical process alive, but that’s just a line item that’s not going to happen anymore. I can tell you that from shooting advertising.

Because it’s too expensive?

TF: It’s not. We used to make $100,000 Roger Corman movies and the line item budget that was expected was that we were shooting on film, we’re doing dual mag, we were in the bar afterwards with the crew, we’re watching that together as a group, we’re getting off on that and shooting the next day. It was an accepted part of doing business. It’s just that it’s not accepted anymore. That’s why film died. It wasn’t supported. By the same token, we have a dying arthouse community.

CB: It’s unsupported.

TF: It’s a broken infrastructure to actually go and see cinema. I’m not just talking about end-of-year cinema. I’m talking about world cinema. I’m talking about being able to see things with a collective community and walking out and feeling different. I remember reading this book about Kie?lowski where he said he resented that people always said theater is a different kind of collective experience but not film. He said that’s bullshit. You come in and you feel that energy in the room. The only difference is the performers. If you want people to go to the cinema, to have an immersive experience and sit together with other people, you had better give them the opportunity to do that properly.

Cate, you often serve as a producer on your projects through your Dirty Films banner. I was sorry to hear that you won’t be making an adaptation of “A Manual for Cleaning Women” with Pedro Almodóvar.

CB: Well, look, it’ll happen in some other form. I adore Pedro and totally respect him. He’s got to work in the language he feels like he can thrive best in. Maybe we’ll make something better. It just won’t be that.

How does your awareness of the fragile ecosystem for getting films made and released impact the work you do as a producer?

CB: My husband and I produced many, many shows a year when we were running the Sydney Theatre Company. Working on films is just an extension of that. It’s just a different medium. But you have to be really careful. Some films can still live and breathe on equal measure on a small screen and some can’t. You have to be really careful who you partner with from the get-go. That’s the idea of the creative producer: someone who has grown up on-set, who understands how a script is developed, and how a movie is made. But they also have a financial sense and ability to understand where to place that movie and distribute it. That role is a dying art, and it’s why a lot of actors and directors are stepping into it.

They’re invested in the success on a creative level.

CB: They know they have to care for the thing from soup to nuts. A lot of times, things are just thrust out, and it’s immaterial to the producer what screen it’s placed on or what the rollout is. When you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ve seen the ups and downs, not necessarily because of the quality but simply how projects have been handled. I’m quite passionate about being involved in that. I do care about what I make. Sometimes it doesn’t work. No one tries to make a bad movie, but if it’s good, you want to know that it has a fighting chance of finding an audience.

Post SAG Screening Q&A

Cate with Todd Field, Nina Hoss, and Sophie Kauer attended the Screen Actors Guild screening Q&A last Sunday. It was moderated by Adam Gopnik.

Magazine Scans

Gramophone Magazine Awards 2022

Click image for higher resolution

Harper’s Bazaar UK November 2022

Source: Harper’s Bazaar UK, WNYC, Vanity Fair, Variety, Indiewire

Interview: “The lives of artists conceal many stories”
Posted on
Sep 20, 2022

Interview: “The lives of artists conceal many stories”

Hello, Blanchett fans!

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…’”

Source: Le Soir

Interviews, Magazine Scans, and other project updates
Posted on
Sep 15, 2022

Interviews, Magazine Scans, and other project updates

Good day, Blanchett fans!

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.

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

Film Updates

— 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.

Pinocchio

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.

Documentary Now

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 now on sale but 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 and Nina Hoss

 

Sources: Politico, Bloomberg, The AU Review, Dagens Nyheter

49th Telluride Film Festival A Tribute to Cate Blanchett
Posted on
Sep 5, 2022

49th Telluride Film Festival A Tribute to Cate Blanchett

Happy Monday, everyone!

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.

Full review on LA Times

49th Telluride Film Festival – Class Photo
49th Telluride Film Festival – A Tribute to Cate Blanchett

Tribute

Telluride Film Festival Day 3 – Tribute and Q&A

Sources: Indiewire, Vanity Fair

Cate Blanchett on Vanity Fair European Edition
Posted on
Aug 31, 2022

Cate Blanchett on Vanity Fair European Edition

Hi, Cate Blanchett fans!

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.

Sources: VF France, VF Italy, VF Spain, French Interview, Italian Interview, Spanish Interview

More Cate Blanchett Voice Works
Posted on
Jun 22, 2022

More Cate Blanchett Voice Works

Hi, everyone!

Cate has been attached to more voice works recently. She has a voice part in Julian Rosefeldt’s most recent film installation — Euphoria. She voiced a talking and singing tiger in a supermarket. Paul Feig has also said that Cate is the narrator in Netflix’ adaptation of The School for Good and Evil.

EUPHORIA IS THE LONG-AWAITED, NEW, MULTI-DISCIPLINARY, SPATIAL FILM INSTALLATION BY THE VIDEO ARTIST AND FILM-MAKER JULIAN ROSEFELDT, WHO WOWED RUHRTRIENNALE AUDIENCES IN 2016 WITH MANIFESTO.

His new work is a tour de force that runs through the history of economic theory. The project consists of original texts from famous economists, writers, philosophers and poets, and traces the 2,000-year history of human greed. He translates the complex history of the development of our neoliberal market economy into an accessible visual language through the combination of historical texts with familiar scenic representations, in which actors like Giancarlo Esposito and Virginia Newcomb appear as contemporary characters and Cate Blanchett provides the voice for a talking, singing tiger. The project pursues the question of why capitalism appears, until now, to have no alternative and why it remains irresistible, even to people who are aware of its destructive nature, as a filmic re-enactment of both pro-capitalist and capitalist-critical positions.

Euphoria is part of Ruhrtriannale Festival (Germany) running from August 26th – September 10th 2022. More info on tickets here. It will also be shown at Park Avenue Armory in New York from November 29th 2022 until January 8th 2023 (tickets here.)

Cate Blanchett Cast as Narrator in The School for Good and Evil

 Cate Blanchett has joined the cast of Netflix’s fantasy film “The School for Good and Evil,” alongside stars Kerry Washington, Charlize Theron and Michelle Yeoh, filmmaker Paul Feig said during a conversation at the 6th Annual Women in Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles.

And actually, we just got Cate Blanchett as now the narrator, so we’re very excited about that,” Feig let slip during the fireside chat, as he listed out the star-studded female-led ensemble. “It hasn’t actually been announced yet — it’s out there.”

The Netflix Original, based on Soman Chainani’s bestselling book series, follows the relationship between two best friends, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie) as they are swept into a fairy tale-like world. However, the girls are soon separated, as Sophie is placed under Lady Lesso’s (Theron) tutelage in the School for Evil, while Agatha is taken in by Professor Dovey (Kerry Washington) in the School for Good. The plot centers on their fight to return to each other and adventures in mystical environments.

Sources: Broadway World, Ruhrtriannale, Park Avenue Armory, The Wrap

 

Cate Blanchett on ABC 90 Celebrate
Posted on
Jun 16, 2022

Cate Blanchett on ABC 90 Celebrate

Good day, Blanchett fans!

Cate Blanchett is set to be featured in the live two-hour entertainment TV event, ABC 90 Celebrate! She has appeared in a few of ABC programmes: Police Rescue, G.P., Heartland, Rake, and most recently in #StatelessTV which she co-created and co-produced.

A first look footage for Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio was shown at Annecy Film Festival and VR project, Evolver is still showing at Tribeca Film Festival. Read a review on Evolver from Independent below.

ABC 90 Celebrate!

ABC has announced a stellar lineup of famous faces set to feature in the live two-hour entertainment television event, ABC 90 Celebrate! Airing Thursday, 30 June at 8.00 pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

Hosted by Zan Rowe, Tony Armstrong and Craig Reucassel, the broadcast will feature an exciting list of performers and presenters who are set to celebrate the value and role the ABC has held in connecting Australians for 90 years.

Throughout the evening, audiences can expect live crosses to different locations, studios and community events across the country.

Taking audiences through a nostalgic journey of the programmes and people that have made an impact across the 90 years will be an abundance of Australian entertainment legends.

The list includes Adam Liaw, Amy Shark, Annabel Crabb, Bjorn Ulaveus, Bryce Mills, Cate Blanchett, Christine Anu, Daniel Browning, Hunter Page-Lochard, Ebony Boadu, Kev Carmody, Leah Purcell, Leigh Sales, Magda Szubanski, Michael Hing, Molly Meldrum, Namilla Benson, Richard Roxburgh, Roy & HG, Ross Wilson, Steph Tisdell, Wil Anderson, and many more.

Pinocchio

Guillermo Del Toro world premiered eight minutes of footage, finished and unfinished, from his stop-motion fable about a wooden boy with a borrowed soul.

Even without the full title “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” the film’s artistic voice would be unmistakable. In the first excerpt screened we find Geppetto encountering the newly living Pinocchio for the first time. The characters are unlike any versions we’ve seen prior. The inventor, for one, seems thoroughly soused (or at least terribly hung-over), picking himself off the floor and stumbling across his creaky workshop with bloodshot eyes.

Only something is stirring, something is upstairs, and that something announces itself with a fright. As the wooden puppet moves out of the shadows, it does so not with the upright footing of a boy but with the spindly movements of a bug. Newly brought to life, Pinocchio moves at first like a spider, using his arms as two extra legs before (presumably) learning that in order to be a real boy one should aim to be bipedal.

Cate Blanchett takes us inside the human body in an epic VR experience

Stepping through a blacked-out revolving door in Manhattan’s Financial District and into Evolver, a virtual reality exhibit about human breath, the audience is confronted by a dark concrete room. There’s an eerie, amplified natural soundscape of babbling brooks and passing storms and enormous backlit pictures that feel familiar, but with closer scrutiny prove ineffable. An indistinct image could be a Hubble telescope capture of the stars or maybe a tree’s underground roots, or even a network of human capillaries, magnified to a scale that renders the mundane fact of circulation alarming. This is, of course, the point.

Created by the London-based art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast, luxuriously narrated by Cate Blanchett, and co-executive produced by Terrence Malick, Evolver drops its audience inside the human body on the journey of an inhale. Here we follow the flow of oxygen from the outside world, through our lungs, and eventually to our distant cells. But the impression of the exhibit – which had its world premiere last week at the Tribeca Film Festival – is far less sterile than its brief. Though based on biologically accurate renderings, the result is closer to painterly mimesis than precise simulation. There’s no way the inside of my body looks this spectral and astonishing.

The exhibit acknowledges that’s a trippy question to ask, and so our first ten minutes are spent in deliciously enveloping zero gravity chair sacs, functioning like a palate cleanser. Instead of bulky VR headsets, attendees are outfitted with pillowy headphones and invited to close their eyes. Cate Blanchett then huskily murmurs in your ear about the relationship between your body and the world beyond it.

Transitions are always messy in big, interactive exhibits, but being roused from Cate Blanchett’s seductive whisper to be tightly fitted with futuristic goggles was particularly unwelcome but quickly forgotten. In the main presentation, Blanchett’s voice is replaced by a moody, natured-inflected soundtrack by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, avant-garde artist Meredith Monk, late Icelandic composer Jo?hann Jo?hannsson and experimentalist Howard Skempton. It starts aloof and electronic and grows triumphantly grandiose. Visually, human breath streams and swirls around you like the Milky Way; blood vents as explosively as lava. The path of the molecules that appear to surround you can be modestly altered by swooping your hand across your body.

Virtual reality on this scale is disorienting; a watchful exhibition assistant had to save me from walking into a wall and later, another participant. It’s also stupefying – I struggled for words in the minutes immediately after and I’m told some visitors even cried. But Steel’s impossible question occasionally revisited me. Are you breathing the air, or is the wild world remaking itself in miniature inside you? Is circulation anything less beautiful than a brook that babbles within us?

Evolver won’t improve your anatomical understanding. Instead, it elevates the simple and involuntary fact of human respiration into something as extraordinary to look at as the world outside us. It accomplished something more startling than making me think about my own breath. It made me gasp.

Sources: MediaWeek; Variety; Independent

Cate Blanchett at LVMH Prize 2022
Posted on
Jun 2, 2022

Cate Blanchett at LVMH Prize 2022

Happy Friday, Blanchett fans!

Yesterday, Cate had a short trip to Paris where she was made ambassador at this year’s LVMH Prize. She presented the Young Fashion Designer Award to Steven Stokey Daley. Check out the photos, videos, and articles below!

Thank you to Frauke and Bronte for their donation to the site!

LVMH PRIZE 2022

By my watch it was 2:49 pm at the Louis Vuitton Fondation in Paris when Cate Blanchett delivered the news: “I know I speak for everyone in wishing the winner a long and fulfilling career. So, the 2022 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designer goes to… SS Daley!” The audience whooped as Steven Stokey Daley, 25, stepped up onto the stage in his voluminous khaki collection trench coat to accept the fancy golden award. As with everything else over the last 48 hours spent here prepping for this moment—sleep-time excepted—Daley delivered his speech with aplomb. “This is like an Oscar, so thanks Cate! I genuinely didn’t expect to win, so thanks to everyone who supported me.”

Shortly after she handed Daley that fancy award, Cate Blanchett said: “I wasn’t part of the judging process, I just joined at the last minute. Which is interesting because you can make decisions based on your own personal taste. But it’s an entirely different process when you understand as a juror you have someone’s career and development at stake… Because everyone can have an amazing moment and there are so many breakouts, but can they sustain the brutality of the fashion industry?”

Left to Right: Jonathan Anderson, Nicolas Ghesquière, Sidney Toledano, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Cate Blanchett, Bernard Arnault, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Delphine Arnault, Stella McCartney, Jean-Paul Claverie, Kim Jones, and Nigo

Delphine Arnault announces: “I am very happy that Steven Stokey Daley, has won the LVMH 2022 Prize for his brand S.S. Daley.  He appropriates the codes of tailoring by playing with the clichés of upper-class English culture. This year, the jury has decided to award the Karl Lagerfeld Prize to the designer Eli Russell Linnetz for his brand ERL who draws from the culture of Venice Beach and his native California, to create joyful, cool and sensual clothes, and to Idris Balogun for Winnie New York, who revamps the codes of a colourful elegance, inspired by the staples of menswear.

I would like to congratulate all the finalists and I applaud their outstanding talent and creativity. I am also very grateful to Cate Blanchett and Eileen Gu for being here today, both of whom are outstanding in their own fields and an inspiration to us all. Finally, I would like to thank the members of the exceptional Jury for their involvement in this edition and for their support to young creation.”

Sources: Vogue; LVMH

Dirty Films with Origma 45 to produce Noora Niasari’s ‘Shayda’
Posted on
May 22, 2022

Dirty Films with Origma 45 to produce Noora Niasari’s ‘Shayda’

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Dirty Films is going to be producing another movie which is the directorial debut Iranian/Australian writer and director Noora Niasari. It will be led by Iranian actress Zar Amir-Ebrahimi.

Being sold in Cannes by HanWay Films, Niasari’s directorial debut follows a young Iranian mother who finds refuge in an Australian women’s shelter with her six-year-old daughter.

Iranian actress Zar Amir-Ebrahimi (Tehran Taboo, Morgen sind wir frei) is set to star in Shayda, the directorial debut of Iranian/Australian writer/director Noora Niasari. HanWay Films has come on board to handle international sales and distribution, while UTA Independent Film Group is representing the U.S. sale.

Shayda follows a young Iranian mother (Amir-Ebrahimi) and her six-year-old daughter who find refuge in an Australian women’s shelter during the two weeks of Iranian New Year (Nowrooz), which is celebrated as a time of renewal and re-birth. Aided by the strong community of women at the refuge, they seek their freedom in this new world of possibilities, only to find themselves facing the violence they tried so hard to escape.

Shayda is produced by Vincent Sheehan (The Hunter, Jasper Jones, Animal Kingdom, Lore) through his new production venture Origma 45. Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini at Dirty Films (Apples, Carol, Little Fish) are executive producers.

“We first encountered Noora’s talent watching her short films, The Phoenix and Tâm. We were blown away by her precise, emotionally-driven filmmaking and her capacity to draw out gripping performances,” said Dirty Films in a statement. “We are excited to be working alongside Vincent again to help Noora fulfil her bold and distinct vision for Shayda.”

Melbourne-based Niasari is well known for her award-winning short films including Waterfall which screened at the 66th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) where it was nominated for best short film, Tâm and feature documentary Casa Antúnez.

Heads of production on the film will include cinematographer and Niasari’s closest collaborator, Sherwin Akbarzadeh (Stories From Oz). Osamah Sami (Ali’s Wedding), Leah Purcell (The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson), Mojean Aria (The Enforcer), Jillian Nguyen (Expired) and Rina Mousavi (Alexander) will star alongside Amir-Ebrahimi. Production will commence on July 11 in Australia.

“We are delighted to be part of an incredible team supporting Noora Niasari’s feature debut,” said HanWay Films managing director Gabrielle Stewart. “Noora has written a beautiful piece that reflects much of her own experience of moving to Australia as a child. There is an intimacy to her storytelling that brings to life what it is to honor the traditions of the culture you have left behind as a mother raising her young child, whilst together bravely embracing a whole new one.”

Source: THR

Cate Blanchett and Cindy Sherman on New York Times
Posted on
May 4, 2022

Cate Blanchett and Cindy Sherman on New York Times

Ciao, everyone!

Last week Cate went to an exhibition by Cindy Sherman while she was in New York and NYT has released an article about the visit.

On the 45th anniversary of Sherman’s acclaimed series “Untitled Film Stills,” they toured her show, discussing what an image, or a smile, may reveal.

Cindy Sherman and Cate Blanchett had only met in passing, a few times. And yet there is an identifiable thread connecting the work of Sherman, the artist who (dis)appears, disguised in character, in her own photographs, and Blanchett, the protean and Oscar-winning Australian actress. On a gray morning in late April, the women, mutual admirers, convened at Hauser & Wirth gallery on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where a collection of Sherman’s critically acclaimed early work opened May 4, and where they quickly forged a connection.

“I’m a massive fan,” said Blanchett, proving her adulation with detailed questions, both technical (does Sherman use a timer?) and philosophical (“where does rhythm sit in photography?”). Blanchett had whisked into town to receive an award from Film at Lincoln Center, before heading back to London, where she is filming “Disclaimer,” an Apple TV+ series directed by Alfonso Cuarón.

Sherman was busy overseeing the exhibition, which includes all 70 of her untitled film stills, the black-and-white photos that put her on the map, and shook up the art world, starting in the late ’70s, as well as her subsequent rear screen projection and centerfold images, all in color and all starring her. Sherman, 68, and Blanchett, who turns 53 this month, toured the exhibition together, eagerly finding commonalities.

“She really takes on different personas,” Sherman said admiringly.

In 2015, Blanchett performed in “Manifesto,” a 13-channel video art installation by the German artist Julian Rosefeldt, in which she played at least a dozen different characters, from news anchor to homeless man, reciting various artistic and political manifestoes. (It was later released as a feature film.) “That was inspiring,” Sherman said, adding that she felt like she’d done some of those characters too. “It was a nice confirmation, of feeling like we’re on the same wavelength a little bit.”

In what was less a conversation than a cosmic matchup, they talked about getting into character, childhood play, the value of makeup, and the horror of clowns. These are edited excerpts.

How do you make use of each others’ work?

CATE BLANCHETT Filmmaking can be very literal. So, I find anything you can do to move yourself to a more abstract space. Sometimes it’s a piece of music. But invariably it’s an object. Oftentimes, I’ll make a whole tear sheet composition about the feeling around something I can’t articulate, images that had nothing to do on a conscious level with what I’m doing. Like the Clown series, for instance. I can’t even begin to express my revulsion and terror — the visceral feeling of seeing those works [Sherman’s series of lurid clowns]. I tore it out for [the Guillermo del Toro film] “Nightmare Alley” recently.

I find if you slam something left of field up against what you need to do as an actor, it can create something slightly more ambiguous. It doesn’t always work.

CINDY SHERMAN I don’t really get into the characters that way, but there’s a big difference between what I’m doing and acting. I’m just standing still, and because I’m also working alone, I can really mix it up, do the complete opposite of what I thought the character should do — and sometimes that works.

Did either of you grow up thinking that you had very malleable faces?

SHERMAN I didn’t.

BLANCHETT No. I used to do this thing with my sister where she would dress me up, stand me in front of the mirror and give me a name. Then I’d have to figure out that person. My favorite one — we kept saying we were going to make a movie about him — his name was Piggy Trucker. He was a little short guy, a bit like an Australian Wally Shawn [the actor and playwright Wallace Shawn], and he drove a pig truck. [I was] probably about 7, 8 years old.

SHERMAN It was playing dress-up. My mother would go to the local thrift store and for 10 cents buy these old prom dresses from the ’40s or ’50s. There was also, I think it was my great-grandmother’s clothes that were left in the basement. I discovered them, and it was like, wow. It looked like old lady clothes, but also the pinafore type of things. When I was 10 or 12, I would put them on, stuff socks to hang down to the waist to look like old lady [breasts], and walk around the block.

BLANCHETT [laughing, pretending to be Sherman] I knew then I wanted to be an artist!

Often, these things start as play and then the exploration becomes, I imagine, a seamless transition. It’s not conscious — some of these things, you’re doing without thinking.

SHERMAN Yeah. When I was in college, I was putting makeup on and transforming myself in my bedroom when I was studying painting. I think I was working out my frustration with whatever was going on in my life, and my boyfriend at the time finally just said, you know, maybe this is what you should be taking pictures of. And that seemed like a good idea.

Sometimes, I’ll be making up [a character] and look in the mirror as I pose, and I suddenly feel like I don’t recognize [myself]. Wow, where did she come from? It’s kind of spooky, kind of cool. [To Blanchett] How do you come up with characters? Like all those for Julian [Rosefeldt]?

BLANCHETT It was so fast. It was quite interesting for me actually, because you can get really hung up on your character’s back story, particularly in American acting culture. It’s all about your connection — if your mother died or father died, then use that. That is really alien to me anyway. I’ll talk to my therapist about that. What was really great about the Julian thing was, there was no psychology. It was just a series of actions. Most of the time, we’re not thinking about what makes us tick. You’re doing things. [To Sherman] You’ve done a few male incarnations too.

SHERMAN That was a lot harder. I had to just become confident in a way that I, as a woman, maybe am not. Once I relaxed into the character, I [sometimes] felt, this is a very sensitive guy.

Sometimes, I’ll be making up [a character] and look in the mirror as I pose, and I suddenly feel like I don’t recognize [myself]. Wow, where did she come from? It’s kind of spooky, kind of cool. [To Blanchett] How do you come up with characters? Like all those for Julian [Rosefeldt]?

BLANCHETT It was so fast. It was quite interesting for me actually, because you can get really hung up on your character’s back story, particularly in American acting culture. It’s all about your connection — if your mother died or father died, then use that. That is really alien to me anyway. I’ll talk to my therapist about that. What was really great about the Julian thing was, there was no psychology. It was just a series of actions. Most of the time, we’re not thinking about what makes us tick. You’re doing things. [To Sherman] You’ve done a few male incarnations too.


Click images for higher resolution

SHERMAN That was a lot harder. I had to just become confident in a way that I, as a woman, maybe am not. Once I relaxed into the character, I [sometimes] felt, this is a very sensitive guy.

BLANCHETT Often a smile is a defense. It’s actually a shut down rather than an invitation. When you smile with your eyes, that’s where the genuine thing comes from. One of the many things that’s so powerful about your work is creating that expectation [of emotion] but not delivering, so there’s an eerie sort of hollowness to it. It’s the disconnect from what we present to who we actually are, and that vacuum between the two. It’s often the space where all our personal horror sits.

[To Cindy]It’s interesting, you go through this process by yourself. I’m not a great fan of the monologue. I did a play once, a Botho Strauss play, where I had a monologue for 25 minutes. It was like, wow, this is lonely. Often on films, there’s zero rehearsal or even conversation about stuff. You’re just meant to walk on and deliver. You’re thinking about the result, and I find that a pretty deathly way to work.

I’ve realized over the years that my relationship with the costume designer and the hair and makeup people is really profound. It’s profound to see what the character looks like, and therefore how a character might move or project. Those departments — so-called “female guilds” — are often things that male directors profess to know nothing about. “I’ll just leave that bit to you.”

I played Elizabeth I years ago and the director, whom l love and respect, was always, I just want the hair down, flowing in the wind. I said, have you seen the pictures of Elizabeth I? There weren’t that many like that.

But it’s because [some male directors] need to feel attracted. They can’t see that there are other ways — and not even in a sexual way — you can be alluring. You can draw an audience into a character’s experience in many different ways. I keep going back to the clown images — you can tell I’m really disturbed by them. When you’re taking them, do you think: I want people to feel repulsed by this?

SHERMAN Even the repulsive things I’ve done — grotesque things with rotten food — I want people to feel kind of repulsed, but attracted and laughing at it, all at once. I don’t want people to take it too seriously.

I’ve always been attracted to horror movies, and I equate that to the feeling of being on a roller coaster. You know you’re not going to fall out, but you can still be terrified. And then it’s all over. I think that’s how fairy tales functioned way back when. I was trying to do that with my work, to make it seem from a distance like, oh, pretty colors! And up close — oh, it’s a little awful. But then you get the joke.

In the mid-80s, this company in Paris asked me if I would make some ads for French Vogue. That’s when I started playing with fake blood and fake noses. They hated it, of course. That inspired me to make it much more dark. I got fake scar tissue and fake body parts. Eventually I found these prosthetics — fake [breasts and butts] was the perfect way to start playing with nudity, partly because I think I’ve been hiding in the work. The idea of revealing any part of myself literally was never the point.

BLANCHETT I’m quite kinesthetic — that’s why I love being onstage, I feel like I’m always better in movement. You’re so incredible, there’s so much movement, and then, it’s all captured in this vibrating, still image.

It’s like when you go and see dance. It’s that moment of [sharp inhale] suspension before someone lands that’s so thrilling. Andso great that [your photographs] are not titled. You’re not led to make any particular sense of them. These works, it’s like a litmus test. Thank you.

Source: New York Times