For his third career film and the first in 16 years, Todd Field has chosen to write the invented story of Lydia Tár, the first conductor of a major German orchestra… a role designed and written for a single actress. , Cate Blanchett.
« I didn’t write with Cate Blanchett in mind, I wrote this role for Cate Blanchett. » It was with these words that Todd Field opened the press conference presenting “Tár” at the Venice Biennale last month.
Lydia Tár is at the height of her career. She is preparing to record Mahler’s fifth symphony with the Berlin orchestra. Lydia lives in a world apart, of custom-made clothes, concrete apartments and master classes given in front of an admiring audience. She lives with Sharon (Nina Hoss), his spouse and also a violinist in the orchestra, as well as with their adopted daughter. Lydia is always followed by Francesca (Noémie Merlant), her assistant, to whom she entrusts all the thankless tasks. This smooth aspect hides something, which one suspects as soon as Sharon looks at Lydia. Because it is interested in Olga Metkina (Sophie Kauer), a cellist. And the further the feature film progresses, the more Olga realizes that Lydia is abusing her power.
« It’s a long journey in a very short period of time for her, » said the filmmaker. We follow her for about three weeks and there’s a lot going on. »
“Lydia is definitely haunted, be it by someone, by something, by her past, by her actions. Without divulging the end of the film, I must say that it is someone who put away her past in a small box and put her talent at the service of a reinvention of herself. She tried to change and let herself be transformed by the music. We feel the fear. Lydia is at the top of her game and she knows that, as a person, she can only come down. And that takes a lot of courage,” said Cate Blanchett.
To prepare for the role, Cate Blanchett learned German and to play the piano. “From the first syllable of the script, I knew it was very complex. Shooting the film was a process and so my outlook on her changed. Something that hasn’t changed is that I always thought Lydia was a stranger to herself, as are all the characters in the film. »
“We are all strangers to ourselves, it is human. You don’t have to be a pianist or conductor of the most important orchestra in the world to be. It is a series of contradictions.
Asked about her propensity to embody lesbian characters, the interpreter of “Carol” replied that she was careful not to combine “the words” important “and” art “.
“I never questioned the character’s gender and sexuality. It is a fact. The film is a human portrait and perhaps we have evolved enough as a society that it is no longer a question, but simply a fact. It wasn’t until we started talking to reporters to promote the film that I realized women were at the heart of the feature. »
“The film is a kind of fairy tale, Todd likes to remind that there is still no female conductor of the oldest orchestra in Germany. The world of classical music is still a pyramidal, patriarchal structure. Women generally lead more romantic pieces… But that’s changing. Do we need to politicize the talk so that the changes continue to happen and become normal?
“Tár” hits theaters October 21.