In 2015, already at the top of his career, Cate Blanchett demonstrated why is she an actress willing to break the mold with the video installation I manifest, by Julian Rosefeldt, in which she got into the skin of 13 different characters, holding by herself a collage with the most important artistic manifestos of the 20th century. In that installation, Blanchett acted as a medium of lapidary thoughts and phrases about art and creation that somehow connect directly with the complex character she plays in tar.
The film, written and directed by Todd Field, casts Blanchett as the all-powerful and charismatic conductor Lydia Tár, a fictional character who delves into the wicked mechanisms of power and the dark side of talent. A character that has earned him the Volpi Cup at the Venice festival, the Golden Globe and now his eighth Oscar nomination, bringing his curriculum closer to that of myths such as Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep or Bette Davis.
The inevitable question that hovers tar It is why a film that talks about patriarchal power doesn’t do it through a man but through a woman, specifically a lesbian woman. Is it simple cowardice or a way to seek the empathy of the viewer and thus leave space for the grays of a Manichaean debate? In the film, you can even hear the names of three powerful men in classical music singled out for their inappropriate behavior: the orchestra conductors charles dutoit Y James Levine and the tenor Placido Domingo. Three men whose reflection on the screen is as ambiguous as the sequence in which Lydia Tár offers a class at the Juilliard music school that ends up becoming a parody about the new generations and their conflictive relationship with the canon.
All these thorny issues are eclipsed thanks to the decision to put Blanchett at the absolute center of a film that stands on the shoulders of an actress who does not play a female character, but a concept: that of power itself. Lydia Tár is a genius and a celebrity on the pedestal of one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world. A monolith whose personal and social construction one unexpected day begins to crack. Blanchett is not only capable of dealing with weighty contradictions, she has also shown throughout her career that she can face anything, be it a poor bankrupt millionaire in Blue Jasmine, from Woody Allen, to a myth of classic cinema like Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator, from Martin Scorsese, to a universal icon like Bob Dylan in I’m Not There or the seductive creature of Patricia Highsmith in Carol, both by Todd Haynes.
Blanchett’s enormous work manages to make the viewer bypass Todd Field’s bombastic and stuffy staging to delight in a soloist devoted to the pomp of her character. tar It is located in the world’s musical elite scene and its protagonist is a “maestro” —in masculine, as she likes it— a specialist in Mahler’s work who is now in charge of the Berlin Philharmonic. One piece of information that offers clues to the work capacity and commitment of this actress to her job is that to prepare the character she thoroughly perfected her German and her knowledge of piano. That iron discipline and self-demand are the muscle of a kamikaze professional who never ceases to amaze us neither with the risk of her artistic decisions nor with her ability to bring them to fruition, as in this new case. In the almost three hours of footage of her, undoubtedly excessive, tar invites reflection implicit in other recent films that emerged in the heat of the Me Too movement, such as At Discover either They speak, but not to talk about the victims, but about the monster, without humanizing it means justifying or saving it. After all, this is a film that dissects the lies of power and its caste through a character as sordid as she is fascinating, whose complexity and fatality owes everything to a unique and gifted actress.
Direction: Todd Field.
Performers: Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss, Mark Strong, Noémie Merlant, Sam Douglas.
Gender: drama. United States, 2022.
Duration: 158 minutes.
Premiere: January 27.
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‘Tár’: Cate Blanchett, teacher, teacher or whatever they throw at her
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