Tar: A Symphony of Brilliance

The figure of the Maestro, conducting every note and entry of instrument, his baton setting the rhythm of every movement, and how, without playing an instrument, he is the one who “makes” the music is a metaphor that is often used in various aspects of life, whether personal or professional. And just like a symphony, Tár is a film of various textures and movements, under the precise baton of Todd Field.

Todd, likes dense, gray dramas and surprising turns like In The Bedroom and Little Children, where his protagonists are far from character perfection. Just like the film in which he had greater prominence as an actor, Eyes Wide Shut (where he was the pianist who puts Tom Cruise‘s character in the mysterious swing party) the music leads a claustrophobic plot, but exactly as the scores.

Tár is the story of conductor Lydia Tár, interpreted by the incomparable Cate Blanchett. Lydia is a strong-willed (and difficult) artist and openly anti-millennial culture. Her passion for the classic, for the structure, is not totally retrograde because her way of approaching the score is modern, but she is at the peak of her career, at the head of the prestigious Berlin Orchestra, and with a perfect life. Behind the scenes, we see that her personal attitudes are rooted in toxic habits that today’s youth cannot tolerate, but like everyone else under the spotlight, she also ends up being exposed to cancel culture, thanks to the secrets she hid from everyone around her.

Phrases like “The narcissism of small differences leads to the most boring kind of conformity” and “the architect of your soul appears to be social media” are said in a passive-aggressive tone to a student, paving the way that Lydia believes she does not fear for herself, but who will be ruthless with her when the time comes, and it’s around the corner. The first two long sequences, the interview with the New Yorker and the class at Julliard, introduce us to Lydia Tár as she sees and sells herself: an openly homosexual, passionate, complex, and perfectionist woman. It is in this class that all the pitfalls of the story are announced.

In contrast to the interview, in which she focuses on music and talks about her mentor (the also complicated) Leonard Bernstein, we have an innovative Lydia who defends classicism in her veins. In class, confronted by a student who denies Bach for what the man was, not his music, comes the film’s proposal: is it possible to separate Art from the artist? Lydia obviously defends the thesis, humiliating the student relentlessly.

Like everything in life, what we criticize the most turns against us. “if Bach’s talent can be reduced to his gender, birth country, religion, sexuality, and so on, then so can yours,” she complains. “the players have more than light bulbs and music on their stands. They will also have been handed rating sheets – the purpose of which is to rate you. Now, what kind of criteria would you hope that they use to do this? Your score reading and stick technique, or something else?” she asks, heralding her own future problem. If only she had listened to herself.

After that, we see two sides of Lydia. Sophisticated, aloof, and ruthless, she is married but always has an eye for flirting with young women. She ignores her assistant’s requests to solve a problem with an ex-pupil (and lover), whose suicide shakes the maestrina because she not only had an affair with the girl but also began to persecute and defame her when they separated. She knows that her attitude has led the young woman to lose hope of living and the ghosts literally begin to afflict her.

Lydia Tár’s road to self-destruction does not ask for or show sympathy, there is no side to her apart from her musical precision that makes her empathetic. It is their deafness to the behavioral changes of the 21st century that accelerate the journey to ultra-public and irreversible cancellation. Even with all the warnings, Lydia can’t hold back and change, she continues her psychological and sexual manipulation until her tricks not only don’t work anymore, they leave her vulnerable. In the end, when she loses the stage, we see that she was never what she sold herself to be, not even her name is real. The conclusion, a decadent artist conducting the score of a game where the audience is literally monsters, is incredible poetry.

Cate Blanchett is an Oscar favorite, even more so than Michelle Yeoh and it’s no surprise. His artistic superiority is flagrant in any role he plays, but, in particular, that of Lydia Tár. For older generations, it’s the ultimate tale of how difficult but urgent it is to listen and adapt to millennial values ​​in order to survive. A beautiful film that deserves more awards than just the performance of its star.


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