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I’ve seen ‘Tár’

Wendy and I have been to see Todd Field’s Tár at the beautiful, historic Tyneside Cinema. As you may know, it stars Cate Blanchett giving the performance of a career as Lydia Tár, an impossibly famous American conductor and composer.

Tár is set in the present day: it is a film rooted in now, exploring many of the cultural issues of our time. Its theme seems to be the extent to which one can separate art from the producer(s) of the work: can we still enjoy Bach’s music even when we know that he wasn’t an especially virtuous person? In a particularly inspired comment on these questions, the film’s credits roll at the start of the film.

On another level, this is the frequently told story of the ‘great man’, the genius whose eccentricities leave personal disaster in their wake. Only this time the ‘great man’ is a ‘great woman’, and after watching the film, both Wendy and I found ourselves second-guessing whether our judgement was different as a result.

It is a film full of symbolism, but also a film acted with such authenticity as to be completely believable. There is a scene near the start in which Tár is interviewed on stage by Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker (playing himself) and I wanted the interview to keep on running to learn more about herself and her career. I was completely immersed, my disbelief entirely suspended.

I thought it was brilliant.

Tár is in cinemas now.

This post was filed under: Film, Post-a-day 2023, , , .

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