We went to see Tár this weekend. I really, really enjoyed this – and I’m going to say a few things about the film, and hope I don’t spoil anything.
A post pandemic #MeToo tale with several twists, Cate Blanchett holds us captive as the composer/conductor Lydia Tár. I won’t discuss the plot, which you can find on wikipedia, but I want to say I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the cis old white guy world of classical music (performance, recording and, to an extent, publishing) through her eyes. It’s a rich film. Some things that come to mind: the way the camera follows Tár as she harangues a student at Juilliard, or the dialog of a public New Yorker interview, the hundreds of small details that director Todd Field slips onto screen, and the the decor of the various homes and office was wonderful.
I’ve been spending the past year thinking about and experimenting with improvisation, which is the complete opposite of this world, and there are dozens of examples on display. It brought me back to days pursuing undergraduate degree, music history and even my time working along side the classical music buyers at An Die Musik in Baltimore.
We talked about the movie after we left the theater, while we were laying in bed, and over coffee this morning. There’s a lot to unpack in here. There are a few things that don’t add much (the metronome and nighttime fridge scenes) and don’t lead to any obvious conclusion. The point is, there’s a lot to think about, and it’s easy to return to this story after leaving the theater. I look forward to watching it again, but encourage you to find a good theater with the comfy seats to experience this film. The sound and music production is fantastic.