Tár (2022) FIlm Review | Movie-Blogger.com


Cate Blanchett and Nina Hoss star in Tar. (Photo: Focus Features).

“Tar,” directed Todd Field, a case study of a critically acclaimed film that begs for a closer look. It has been described as a “masterpiece” and a “perfect voice” – not to mention what many are calling actress Cate Blanchett’s “career best”. Okay. So this suggests a lot of artistry, but I feel it doesn’t tell you what the film is about, why it’s relevant, and what its raison d’être is. What is the reason for this?

The film is succinctly about the fictional master of a Berlin orchestra, who opens the film with an interview about Gustav Mahler’s “5th Symphony in C Minor,” discussing the musicianship, themes, and inspiration behind it. The interviewee Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett), and the questioner is Adam Gopnnik (plays himself), American essayist and writer, associate The New Yorker. Among other things, Mahler’s 5th interpretation is Tár’s raison d’être. So is power, influence and, in fact, this title: “master”. Tár is apparently a feminist and an open lesbian. She scorns the term “maestra,” which designates a female conductor, while other professions do not push for gender inequality in titles. He’s not wrong.

Power and its abuse

But Lydia Tár seethes a palpable narcissism, the need to show her own way and see the way as the right one. He doesn’t so much insist that others see things his way, but in his own way he segments, or sometimes outright rejects, the viewpoints of others. His assistant, Francesca (Noémie Merlant), an assistant conductor who never makes it all the way to travel. Lydia’s wife Sharon is also on the road.Nina Hoss), and their child, Petra (Mila Bogojevic). They live in Berlin and Field is a cameraman Florian Hoffmeister it paints the city gray and colorless, which goes beyond the dull palette and instead becomes lived-in and beautiful.

So “Tár” is beautiful and passionately played by Blanchett, who paints this female conductor – one of the few – with palpable dynamism. But the film is about more than that, an elephant in the room that has eluded some critics, and it’s not just about power but abuse of power. There are hints of it, but only hints. Halfway through the film’s third act, we learn that Tár has offered quid pro quo sexual favors in the past in exchange for advancement, and has a very shady and underexposed past with a former assistant, Krista Taylor, who has now committed suicide after Lydia. blackened him and cut him out of his life. As a result, in the third act of Field, we witness the fall of Tár, troubled and filled with anger, as he becomes a victim of the destructive culture.

Cate Blanchett at the top of her game

Sophie Kauer in the Gallery. (Photo: Focus Features).

It seems strange to say, but necessary, that “Tár” is not a film from music. Of course, there are also the band rehearsals, which are loud, fast and terrifying. Lydia ponders over sheet music and practices and composes in her apartment. But in addition to music, his piano and pen strokes are a secondary concern for him, next to conducting. Controlling the tempo and interpreting the original composer’s intention for the piece are his passions. The “Repository” contains many classical music idioms. Discussing the works of Beethoven, Bach’s misogyny, and the playing style of pianist Glenn Gould (contemporary and one of my favorites), may take some viewers into uncharted waters. But there is no real love of music or celebration. The only exception is the new member of the orchestra, cellist Olga (Sophie Kauera real-life cellist and actress), whose playing is extremely beautiful and transcendent.

Field guides Blanchett to perfection, the latter acts almost like a muse to herself, and I liked how Hoss and Blanchett have real chemistry. They feel like a real couple, not someone who has to be different or have to be explained in any traumatic way because they are a same-sex couple. Sharon Hoss is first violinist in the band; this may be the first hint Field gives that progress in Lydia’s band might not be all about professionalism and merit. Olga is a pretty new face (I like how Field and Hoffmeister show Olga’s shoes sticking out of the blind partition behind which they auditioned, alerting us that she’s a woman). It’s not hard to see that Tár quickly takes her in, and it’s hard to miss that no one but Sharon notices, which of course says a lot.

About abuse and its victims

Field asks some difficult questions here that may be more difficult for a male audience than a female audience. After the captivating cello performance, Tár congratulates Olga, caressing her face. In another scene, he opens the door to his apartment while Olga comes in to practice in a robe (there’s an explanation behind it, but still…). And I think what shocked me the most is that I wasn’t gasping for breath at first. Then I thought about it Harvey Weinstein, “He said,” etc., and immediately realized my folly. These things are easy to understand when the perpetrator is a man. But maybe that’s what Field is trying to say. Maybe that’s why Olga carries a childlike grin and literally a teddy bear – to highlight innocence and those who want to destroy it.

While I appreciated the tough questions that Field makes us think about (the film’s greatest strengths, in my opinion), I feel like “Tár” drops the ball by following too much. The third act of Tár’s fall from grace skips along at a hasty and too fast pace; and that’s saying something since it’s a 2 hour and 38 minute movie. There is little background story in the history of Lydia Tár – how it got here, what it did to achieve success, etc. – and the film propels us into his final oeuvre, so to speak. Field sprinkles in little hints and notes about his past, alleged abuse (specifically the Krista Taylor angle), but none of it seems definitive or sufficient. We see what it happens with Lydia Tár, but we don’t really feel it. The credits roll and I felt a lack of emotional connection: both to the Vault and to the unfolding events. Ultimately, this is the film’s biggest flaw.

A somewhat incomplete character study

Nina Hoss in the Warehouse. (Photo: Focus Features).

Overall, I feel “The Vault” is an incomplete character portrait that misses some opportunities. It shows a lot whatbut less a how and few a why. Blanchett is gorgeous as advertised, but honestly the rest of the performances are great too. Tár was drawn to Lydia’s world, but less passionate, probably because she’s driven by power, not necessarily music. The closing scenes show that he may still have life and love left in him, but he felt it was too late.

As a study of cinematography, power, and narcissism, Field’s film shines. However, in terms of a character we can relate to, she struggles. Tár is toxic like many of those in power like the aforementioned Harvey Weinstein throughout the ages. However, at times “The Archive” can feel like “She Said” told from Weinstein’s point of view. That Field seems to be asking us to empathize with Lydia in her final moments feels out of place, and the hasty way in which she pushes through Tár’s downfall steals much of the film’s thunder. Still, the film is beautiful to watch and thought-provoking, so if you’ve heard the hype, it’s probably worth your time.

Side note: Mila Bogojevic, who plays Lydia and Sharon’s daughter Petra, is very enjoyable. I hope we get to see more of him in a movie with more screen time.

Mark Ziobro
Mark is a New York-based film critic and founder/editor-in-chief The Movie Buff. He has written film reviews for online websites and local independent print media. He loves cinema all his life, his favorite genres are horror, drama and indie.

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