Renowned conductor Marin Alsop, who is referenced in the film and believed to be an inspiration for Blanchett's fictional character, criticized it as such in a recent interview. Blanchett responded on Thursday, saying that while she greatly respects Alsop, she disagrees with her analysis.
"I have the utmost respect for Marin Alsop," Blanchett said during an appearance on BBC Radio 4. "She's a trailblazer of a musician and a conductor. And it's a very provocative film, and it will elicit a lot of very strong responses for people. What [director Todd Field] and I wanted to do was to create a really lively conversation."
"So there's no right or wrong responses to works of art," she continued. "It's not a film about conducting, and I think that the circumstances of the character are entirely fictitious. I looked at so many different conductors, but I also looked at novelists and visual artists, and musicians of all stripes. It's a very non-literal film."
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While Blanchett allowed that Alsop is "entitled to her opinion," she maintained that the film is, above all, a "mediation on power," adding that "power is genderless."
"I don't think you could have talked about the corrupting nature of power in as nuanced a way as Todd Field has done as a filmmaker if there was a male at the center of it because we understand so absolutely what that looks like. I think that power is a corrupting force, no matter what one's gender is. I think it affects all of us," she explained.
Blanchett recently won a Golden Globe for her work in the film, centered on a lesbian conductor at the height of her career who is accused of abuse by young women. Comparisons have been drawn between Tár and Alsop, as both are Leonard Bernstein protégés, married to fellow orchestral musicians, and lead prominent orchestras.
Amy T. Zielinski/Redferns via Getty Images Marin Alsop
Alsop, who, unlike Blanchett's character, has not been accused of sexual misconduct, told The Sunday Times that the film offended her "as a woman," "as a conductor," and "as a lesbian."
"There are so many men — actual, documented men — this film could have been based on, but instead, it puts a woman in the role but gives her all the attributes of those men," she added. "To assume that women will either behave identically to men or become hysterical, crazy, insane is to perpetuate something we've already seen on film so many times before."