Cate Blanchett: “TÁR” is not a #MeToo movie, more “existential”

“Although there are a lot of sensitive issues in this film, it’s not about all of those things,” said the Oscar winner. “They are plot devices.”

Cate Blanchett is becoming existential. Well, more existential than usual.

The Oscar-winner’s latest film, TÁR, written for her by director Todd Field (“Little Children”), focuses on the fictional Lydia Tár, the first female chief conductor of a major German orchestra. Yet her EGOT earnings career high soon unraveled after #MeToo allegations against her Cloud Lydia’s creative pinnacle. The film debuted at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, where Blanchett spoke about her interpretation of the feature film’s ultimate message.

“There are a lot of thorny issues that come up, but it’s not about those things. It’s a lot more existential to me than that,” Blanchett explained during a press conference via The Hollywood Reporter. “Although the film is almost entirely about a loose cast of female characters, this film is not about women. It’s about people and being human.”

While Fields’ first film in 16 years is very “from this moment” according to Blanchett, the allegations are more “plots” than the point of the feature film.

“It felt urgent, it felt undeniable,” Blanchett said of the script. “But oddly, I didn’t think about the character’s gender or their sexuality at all. And I think that’s what I love about the film. It’s easy. It’s a very human portrait, and I think maybe we’ve matured enough as a species to watch a movie like this without making it a headline. It’s easy.”

Blanchett added, “I didn’t think the film was ‘important.’ I thought it rather undeniable. While there are many sensitive issues in this film, it’s not about any of those things. They are plot devices. The film was made in the time we live in. There’s a lot of explosive stuff in the films – I don’t want to sound too pompous – but it’s a lot more existential.”

TÁR debuts during the 2022 Fall Festival, alongside Harvey Weinstein’s exposé She Said, starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, and the religious abusive play Women Talking, directed by Sarah Polley.

The Focus Features film was written, directed, and produced by Field, who previously told The New York Times that “TÁR” is about “power dynamics and transactional relationships,” before clarifying that the two are “one-way streets.”

Field stated, “No one is innocent, and no one is entirely guilty. Absolutes are nonsense unless it’s a sporting event. They speak of a really frightening human truth, which is how people seize power and use power, or how power benefits others. And that’s like Arthur Miller or Nathaniel Hawthorne, so we know what we’re really thinking about situations based on a limited set of knowledge. What we are told, what we know, what we don’t know – that interests me a lot.”

Field shared his hope that “TÁR” will spark conversation and, at times, debate. IndieWire’s David Ehlrich already hinted in his A review for the film that the film could be “seen as a social lightning rod” if widely released.

“Anything but indifferent,” Field summed up. “No two people see the same film. What I have to say is irrelevant – it’s the person watching the film who is ultimately the filmmaker, you know? I just want to shut up and listen to what people have to say because that’s what I made it for.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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