Cate Blanchett is about to get existential. Well, more existential than usual.
The Oscar winner’s latest film “TÁR,” which was written for her by director Todd Field (“Little Children”), centers on the fictional Lydia Tár, the first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra. Yet her EGOT-winning career high soon unravels after #MeToo allegations against her cloud Lydia’s creative peak. The film debuted at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, where Blanchett opened up about her take on the feature’s ultimate message.
“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,” Blanchett explained during a press conference, via The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
While Fields’ first film in 16 years is very much “of this moment,” according to Blanchett, the allegations are just “plot devices” rather than the point of the feature.
“It felt urgent, it felt undeniable,” Blanchett said of the script. “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.”
Blanchett added, “I didn’t think about the film as being ‘important.’ I thought about it more as being undeniable. With this, while there are a lot of hot-button topics that come up in this movie, it is not about any of those things. They are plot devices. The film was made in the time in which we live. There are a lot of explosive things in the films — I don’t want to sound too highfalutin — but it’s much more existential.”
“TÁR” debuts during the 2022 fall festival circuit, along with Harvey Weinstein exposé “She Said” starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, as well as religious community abuse piece “Women Talking,” helmed by Sarah Polley.
The Focus Features film is written, directed, and produced by Field, who previously told The New York Times that “TÁR” revolves around “power dynamics and transactional relationships,” before clarifying that both are “two-way streets.”
Field explained, “No one’s innocent and no one’s entirely guilty, either. Absolutes are nonsense unless they’re sporting events. You’re talking about a really scary human truth, which is how people take power and use power, or how power uses others. And this is like Arthur Miller or Nathaniel Hawthorne stuff, which is how we discern what we really think about situations based on a limited set of knowledge. What we’re told, what we know, what we don’t know — that does interest me a lot.”
Field shared his hopes that “TÁR” ignites conversation and, at times, debate. IndieWire’s David Ehlrich already hinted that the feature may be “seen as a social lightning rod” upon wide release in his A review for the film.
“Anything but indifferent,” Field summed up. “No two people see the same movie. What I have to say is irrelevant — it’s the person watching the film that’s ultimately the filmmaker, you know? I’d like to just keep my mouth shut and listen to what people have to say, because that’s why I made it.”
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