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Venice: Cate Blanchett Says Todd Field’s ‘TAR’ Is “More Existential” Than the Many “Hot-Button Issues” It Raises



“It’s a very spare and special moment when Todd decides to leave the house and make a movie. That’s why we’re all here, right?”

So said Cate Blanchett about TÁRTodd Field’s much-hyped first feature in 16 years, speaking to the press at the Venice Film Festival ahead of its world premiere on the Lido on Thursday.

Set in the international world of classical music, the Focus Features film centers on Lydia Tár (Blanchett), widely considered one of the greatest living composers/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra. The film follows Tár from the peak of her creative and career powers into a harrowing unraveling as a cloud of #MeToo allegations gather around her. The film’s supporting ensemble includes Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Sophie Kauer, Julian Glover, Mark Strong, Allan Corduner and Sylvia Flote.

“It wasn’t just written with Cate Blanchett in mind — it was written for Cate Blanchett,” said Field.

Blanchett’s stunning transformation for the role has been the talk of Venice in its early days. The actress taught herself to speak German, play piano and conduct an orchestra with verve and abandon for the role. Judging from the pitch of the buzz on the Lido, Blanchett would now seem an instant 2023 Oscar frontrunner.

When asked how she felt about playing another complicated gay woman, following her acclaimed turn in Todd Haynes’ Carol, Blanchett said: “There are a lot of hot-button issues that come up, but it’s not about those things. It’s much more existential for me than that. Although the film is almost entirely about a loose group of female characters, this film isn’t about women. It’s about humans and being human.”

Field, a former actor (he appeared in movies from the 1990s action film Twister to Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut), was hailed as one of the most exciting new American directorial voices following the release of his first two features, In the Bedroom (2001). and Little Children (2006), which received a combined eight Academy Award nominations. In the years that followed, Field was attached to a number of rumored projects, but none of them came to fruition. Heading into Venice, TÁR was considered one of the event’s hottest tickets, thanks to Field’s much-anticipated return and noise over Blanchett’s performance.

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