National Cinema Day and a full hall for a classical music themed evening. Our shorts, with a focus on the role of the conductor set the scene, along with orchestral background music. A very fine cheesecake topped with blackberries sustained us through what was a long evening. Very long.
Tár (2022) was a tribute to Cate Blanchett, who won a BAFTA for the part of a power-hungry conductor, at the top of her game, who begins to fall. She was in every scene and we are told that she had learnt everyone else’s lines too. Writer and director Todd Field created the role for her. We all had no issue with her performance, it was impressive.
Our discussion group weren’t sure about the film, though. The main theme for us was the Biblical ‘how the mighty have fallen’. We talked about how power can corrupt and the pressure of being at the top. We all had examples of destructive people we’d worked with, or individuals in the public eye, who seemed uncaring about the painful impact they had on others. The collapse in support for Lydia Tár, when she faced accusations of misconduct, reflected how badly she had treated everyone on the way up. “The knives came out,” said one member of the group.
The more supernatural scenes in the film were a mystery for us, particularly the metronome in the cupboard. Was this a dream? The final scenes, with Lydia humiliated by conducting computer game music in the Philippines to an audience of cosplayers was “shocking” and “revealing” to one member of our group.
Would we see the film again? The general feeling was no. Some of us had been bored. Much of the camera work, with static scenes and no reaction shots, left me feeling cold. Audience requested subtitles in the second half for us helped us to get on top of the wordiness. It was nice to put the baton down after 158 minutes.