‘Tár’: Cate Blanchett On Todd Field’s “Urgent, Undeniable & Human” Portrait Of A “Haunted” Woman – Venice

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Tár, Todd Field’s return to filmmaking after a 16-year stretch, and starring a buzzed about Cate Blanchett, has its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this evening. The Focus Features drama follows Blanchett’s titular conductor, the first female chief conductor of a major German orchestra who is at the height of and grappling with her genius, swimming in the abyss of it and the toll it takes on those closest to her while a #MeToo scandal swirls.

Field told the Venice press corps this afternoon that he wrote the part expressly for Blanchett and that both then came up with Nina Hoss for the role of Tár’s partner Sharon in a “Jinx: one, two, three moment.” Quipped Blanchett, “I’ve been stalking Nina for about 10 years now. It’s unhealthy, but true.”

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Speaking of her own character, Blanchett said, “I knew from the first syllable of the screenplay that it was really complex and I didn’t know quite what it was. It’s a process movie so the experience of making it was a process and it evolved and changed. But something that probably didn’t change that I kept returning to is that she was someone who was estranged from herself… She’s a series of contradictions.”

She’s also “definitely haunted by someone, by something, by her past, by herself, by past deeds. You experience someone who has definitely put her past in a box and who through her immense talent has tried to reinvent herself and be saved and changed and transmogrified by the music. But she’s haunted by something.”

Would Field classify it as a horror? “There’s an element of horror,” he said, “depending on how you watch the film, but I see a different film every time I watch it and I’ve watched it many different times.”

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Blanchett chimed in that Field “is the king of killing his darlings — in the best possible way. And I think that’s what makes him such a great, great filmmaker. There were what we all thought were so many integral strands to the movie, like a haunting, that he said, ‘I need to let that bit go, I need to let it exist homeopathically.’ So I think you’re sensing the dread and I think it’s when you reach a pinnacle — she knows as an artist and as a human being that the only way next is down and that takes an enormous amount of courage and that itself is a horror movie, or is horrifying.”

When asked about the importance of portraying LGBTQ characters in today’s world, Blanchett responded, “Homogeneity in any art form is death, right? But I’m very wary of butting up the word importance with the word art because I don’t see that artistic process is an educational tool.”

Continued the Oscar winner, “After the thing is made, it can be politicized, disseminated, discussed, people can be disgusted with it, offended by it, inspired by it. But that is outside our control. We were compelled to make this thing. It felt urgent and it felt undeniable but I didn’t think about the character’s gender nor her sexuality at all.”

‘Tár’ Teaser Trailer: Cate Blanchett Plays Obsessed Conductor In Chilling Look At Todd Field’s Return To Director’s Chair

And that’s the thing, said Blanchett, that she loves about the movie. “It’s a very human portrait and I think we have perhaps matured enough as a species that we can watch a film like this and not make that the headline issue. It just is, and I found that really exciting.”

She did allow that there are “a lot of hot-button topics” that come up in Tár, but said it is not a message movie, “I’m not interested in agitprop.”

Speaking to how the landscape of the film business has changed since she began acting, Blanchett said, “In the dawn of time when I entered the film industry, I remember my husband saying to me in an incredibly supportive way — I worked in the theater and I never expected to have a film career — ‘Enjoy it, babe. You’ve got five years if you’re lucky.’ And that was true for women. I think there have been a lot of people who have been changing that landscape. Not only female trailblazing actors who have pushed the boundaries. They have taken opportunities in small roles to make those roles big and important.”

There are also “amazing men alongside us,” but it remains “very hard to get our brothers in so-called Hollywood to play the supporting roles that we will very, very happily play in a good story with good director. That still is difficult.”

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