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In TÁR, Cate Blanchett portrays a powerful, but troubled conductor

TÁR, the award-winning film starring Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, the groundbreaking conductor of a major German Orchestra, opens in South African cinemas this Friday 3 March 2023.   

Blanchett has recently won the BAFTA for Best Actress for her portrayal of the fictional, brilliant, but self-absorbed maestro who bullies her staff and students. She has also won the Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice awards for the role.

In TÁR, audiences meet the titular character, Lydia Tár, at the height of her career, as she’s preparing both a book launch and a much-anticipated live performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Over the next few weeks, her life begins to unravel.

“This script was written for one artist, Cate Blanchett. Had she said no, the film would have never seen the light of day. Filmgoers, amateur and otherwise, will not be surprised by this. After all, she is a master supreme. Even so, while we were making the picture, the superhuman skill and verisimilitude of Cate was something truly astounding to behold. She raised all boats. The privilege of collaborating with an artist of this caliber is something impossible to adequately describe. In every possible way, this is Cate’s film.”

TÁR director, Todd Field
  • Lydia Tár Cate Blanchett film lesbian conductor
  • Lydia Tár Cate Blanchett film lesbian conductor
  • Lydia Tár Cate Blanchett film lesbian conductor
  • Lydia Tár Cate Blanchett film lesbian conductor

While TÁR’s troubled protagonist is a fictional character, the world-renowned conductor and real-life maestro Marin Alsop (who is named in the film), has taken issue with the film on a number of levels, noting that, “So many superficial aspects of Tár seemed to align with my own personal life… I was offended as a woman, I was offended as a conductor, I was offended as a lesbian.”

Alsop also believes that the film itself is a damaging portrayal of women conductors specifically, and of women leaders more broadly. “To have an opportunity to portray a woman in that role and to make her an abuser – for me that was heartbreaking,” said Alsop.

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