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“It’s a very spare and special moment when Todd decides to leave the house and make a movie. That’s why we’re all here, right?”
Set in the international world of classical music, the Focus Features film centers on Lydia Tár (Blanchett), widely considered one of the greatest living composers/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra. The film follows Tár from the peak of her creative and career powers into a harrowing unraveling as a cloud of #MeToo allegations gather around her. The film’s supporting ensemble includes Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Sophie Kauer, Julian Glover, Mark Strong, Allan Corduner and Sylvia Flote.
“It wasn’t just written with Cate Blanchett in mind — it was written for Cate Blanchett,” said Field.
Blanchett’s stunning transformation for the role has been the talk of Venice in its early days. The actress taught herself to speak German, play piano and conduct an orchestra with verve and abandon for the role. Judging from the pitch of the buzz on the Lido, Blanchett would now seem an instant 2023 Oscar frontrunner.
When asked how she felt about playing another complicated gay woman, following her acclaimed turn in Todd Haynes’ Carol, Blanchett said: “There are a lot of hot-button issues that come up, but it’s not about those things. It’s much more existential for me than that. Although the film is almost entirely about a loose group of female characters, this film isn’t about women. It’s about humans and being human.”
Blanchett emphasized that she believes the issue of LGBTQ representation is very “important on a society level.”
“Homogeneity in any art form is death,” she said. “But I’m very wary of bringing up the word ‘importance’ with the word ‘art,’ because I don’t see that artistic practice is educational too. I think what people do with it after the fact — after ‘the thing,’ as Todd likes to call it, is made — can be politicized, or disseminated, or discussed, or people can be disgusted with it, or offended by it, or inspired by it. But that is outside of our control.”
Speaking again of TÁR, she said the film is very “of this moment,” but that she believes the hot-button issues operate more like “plot devices” than specific commentary on those problems. She went on: “It felt urgent, it felt undeniable. But strangely, I didn’t think about the character’s gender, or her sexuality, at all. And I think I love that about the film. It just is. It’s a very human portrait, and I think that we have perhaps matured enough as a species that we can watch a film like this and not make that the headline issue. It just is.”
Field, a former actor (he appeared in movies from 1990s action film Twister to Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut), was hailed as one of the most exciting new American directorial voices following the release of his first two features, In the Bedroom (2001) and Little Children (2006), which received a combined eight Academy Award nominations. In the years that followed, Field was attached to a number of rumored projects, but none of them came to fruition. Heading into Venice, TÁR was considered one of the event’s hottest tickets, thanks to Field’s much-anticipated return and noise over Blanchett’s performance.
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