Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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Cate Blanchett Stars as Lesbian Composer in “TÁR”

If there is one thing we all need, it is witnessing Cate Blanchett portraying a lesbian composer. The full-bodied passion that fills Cate Blanchett as she vigorously leads an orchestra, in the upcoming movie TÁR, is mesmerizing. 

Cate Blanchett will star as Lydia Tár in TÁR, a Todd Field film to be released on October 7. The film is “set in the international world of classical music,” according to its synopsis from Focus Features.

“[TÁR] centers on Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.”

Lydia Tár is a fictional character, not a real-world historical figure. But she is a lesbian. 

For those of us still reeling from Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Carol, in the 2015 film of the same name, TÁR promises another sapphic dose. Except, this time, it will be darker.

At the film’s Venice press conference, director Todd Field admitted that TÁR “wasn’t written with Cate Blanchett in mind—it was written for Cate Blanchett.”

Completely understandable.

TÁR’s second trailer teases the lesbian romances Lydia Tár has with two female musicians under her, as well as an artsy montage that leaves us in anticipatory intrigue. 

Blanchett’s sensual voice monologues about time: “Time is the thing. Time is the essential piece of interpretation. You cannot start without me. I start the clock. However, unlike a clock, sometimes my second hand stops, which means time stops. The reality is that it’s not until I once again decide to raise that hand that time is allowed to continue marching along her very, merry way.”

Does the trailer hint to Lydia Tár’s role as composer and conductor, her orders being what controls musical “time”?

Or has Todd Field gone one step further and made the character of Lydia Tár personify time?

One qualm, after discovering the nature of lesbian romances in the film: why do so many representations of lesbian romance involve a power imbalance? Will Lydia Tár have sexual relationships with these women while they are in positions that must obey her? Guessing from the trailers, it’s not likely that the relationships only start once the women are not under her direct instruction. 

Artsy movies are not immune from leaning into pornographic lesbian fetishism. In my experience, obscure sapphic movies often rely on power imbalances between women as a means to push the boundaries. What about Cracks (2009)? 

That does not mean we can’t enjoy the movie, this isn’t a case for pure censorship, but a question of why certain fetish-like threads run through depictions of lesbianism. 

Anyway, focusing on Cate Blanchett conducting an orchestra (as opposed to the possible problems with the movie) again, TÁR premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival and immediately created a buzz. This could be the second time, the first being Carol, that Cate Blanchett will be an oscar candidate for playing a lesbian character. 

Cate Blanchett spoke to The Daily Beast about why she finds it important to portray lesbian characters in 2022: 

“I think it’s important on a society level. Homogeneity in any art form is death,” she said. “But I’m very wary of butting up the word ‘importance’ with the word ‘art,’ because I don’t see that artistic practice is an educational tool. I think what people do with it after the fact the thing—after ‘the thing,’ as Todd likes to call it—is made can be politicized, or disseminated, or discussed, or people can be disgusted with it, or offended by it, or inspired by it. But that is outside of our control.”

She continued: “It felt urgent, it felt undeniable. But strangely, I didn’t think about the character’s gender—or her sexuality—at all. And I think I love that about the film. It just is. It’s a very human portrait, and I think that 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.”

Read the full article here

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