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Old 12-07-2022, 08:31 PM
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TrueFaith77 TrueFaith77 is offline
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72.Tar (Todd Field); grade: F

I keep hearing Tár isn’t really a movie about the conflict between an artist’s personal failings and artistic contributions. Rather, Tár is a movie about “power.” Simply put, Tár is actually a movie made from the point of view of privilege for the purposes of sustaining current power structures by indulging the bourgeois fantasy of resistance (#MeToo, cancel culture). Semiotics—the study of how culture makes meaning to support status quo power structures—exposes the style of Tár as essentially bourgeois: a sub-Kubrickian fantasy of the paranoiac inner life of a cosseted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony winner).

The fictional conductor/composer Lydia Tár is, herself, a semiotic construct of Linda Tar and, as a characterization, of Cate Blanchett. Linda eliminates the signs of her regional and class upbringing with aristocratic intonations. She even takes on the posture and gait of a U-haul lesbian. Like her Katharine Hepburn desecration in The Aviator, Blanchett conceives of Lydia as a human being devoid of any delicacy or sensuality; hence, reducing her approach to her art and her sexual conquests to power relationships. (Director Todd Fields cut from the final film the lesbian scenes used to sell Tár in ads.)

Field constructs straw men arguments in Tár that have little to do with the cultural calamities represented by #MeToo and cancel culture. The seemingly out-of-context viral video of her belittling a student who finds the classical music canon incompatible to his BIPOC, non-binary experience actually represents Field’s’ perspective entirely. It justifies rather than critiques the mob punishment it engenders—each isolated moment represents real abuse. Later, Field establishes Lydia’s abusive nature when she threatens a little girl bullying her daughter at school—but such character moments exist in a vacuum of credibility (entitled little girls know who have their backs). The women who invite Lydia’s attention are aware of exchange on offer, which is why Field only alludes to the relationship between Lydia and the protege who commits suicide, never risking presenting the dynamic to spectator scrutiny (another bourgeois ellipsis).

Compare this to the insights in Brady Corbett’s Vox Lux (Making sense of senseless times, Natalie Portman as a pop star rails against old things that smell of death and the impotence of threats against her artistic authorship). The mastery of that film must have shaken more pseudo-artistes like Todd Field than I would have guessed. Field’s Tár pits Corbett’s artistic contributions against Field’s artistic failings.
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