Among the upcoming candidates for the Oscar for best film there are proposals for all tastes. There will be those who have certain titles left over – I am very clear that I would remove ‘Avatar: The Sense of Water’ from there – or who are missing others, but the Academy has decided that these are the ten chosen, as it happens that one of them finally arrives in Spanish cinemas this Friday, January 27.
The film in question is ‘Tár’, the first feature film directed by Todd Field since ‘Secret Games’ premiered in 2006. A return that has received almost unanimous applause from critics but which has had a harder time connecting with the public. A pity, since it is an excellent work that offers more readings than the obvious and has an extraordinary interpretation of cate blanchett.
The fall of Lydia Tár
There are two particularly important details in the interview with the character of Lydia Tár during the first minutes of the film. The first is the mention of how she controls the time when she is conducting an orchestra and the second is the fact that her fifth symphony of Mahlerthe one that the protagonist has yet to record live to achieve a milestone in the world of music, is a mystery.
It is clear that this long segment seems designed for us to get to know its protagonist more in depth, but already then Field begins to play with the perception of the spectatorsomething that he will maintain throughout the entire footage, to the point that it is inevitable to wonder how much of what we see on the screen really happens like this.
On the one hand, we have the fact that Tár is a control freak, a logical trait given her work and how high she has reached in it, but throughout the film we see precisely how she loses it until it reaches its peak in a scene that a priori may seem a bit out of place in dramatic terms. And I say can because it can also be read as a way of representing that his protagonist has hit rock bottom, but I’m not entirely clear that this is Field’s intention, something that applies to many more details scattered throughout its generous footage.
I am clear that it will be its curious outcome whatever arouses greater curiosity in an important sector of the public and that it is easy to see as a good closure for the idea of seeing in ‘Tár’ a complete reading on the cancellation policy, since the film can be read that way with the naked eye form. And as such it would already be a more than remarkable work that dodges the easiest way to play at all times with the doubt about what has really happened.
The other layers of the film
This is the first proof that we are facing a complex proposal, since it is true that it is clear that Lydia Tár is not a good person and there are countless details that are accumulating so that this is evident. However, Field is never quite clear about what happened to Krista Taylor, the presence that haunts the protagonist at all times, even before Blanchett’s character knows that she has taken her own life.
Thus, ‘Tár’ also has something of a ghost movie, but not so much to flirt with terror as to influence its effects on the psyche of its protagonist. That loss of control becomes more and more obvious and also what makes other characters end up turning their backs on him. Everything is there detailed with calm and care so that the descent into hell of its protagonist is as progressive as it is inevitable.
However, Field also introduces elements throughout the story that raise a certain viewer discomfortbe it for the fleeting appearances of Lydia, for that enigmatic metronome, the inexplicable screams in the park or for that key scene in which Tár goes in search of other music that she is obviously attracted to, which suddenly disappears.
All of this leads to the fact that it is never entirely clear if what is happening is reality, fiction, or even some kind of hallucination of its protagonist., but Field achieves something miraculous at the same time, and that is that ‘Tár’ is by no means a confusing film. Obviously, there will be things that one does not fully explain if you go for a single reading, but even then there is enough scope to try to fit it into the whole in some way.
It is there where what I mentioned about the two details at the beginning come to the fore. On the one hand, any option to read the images arises from theto loss of control of its protagonist of what surrounds it and the mystery is clear as soon as one wants to scratch a little beyond the more traditional focus of being a work on the culture of cancellation, although there is nothing wrong with staying only at that because the film itself endorses it.
And that is part of the greatness of ‘Tár’, because directly everything is impeccable. Of course, Blanchett shines with her own light, but the work of the rest of the cast also borders on a high level and that portrait of the fall from the top has an indisputable force, but there are more things there that are not random. On a first viewing, they can cause confusion more than anything else, but reviewing it, it becomes clear that the film offers much more than meets the eye. Another thing is that several have still escaped me or that Field’s intention was the one that occurred to me, which could be perfectly wrong.
‘Tár’ is an essential film that works on several levels and does so intentionally. The clearest one is already very enjoyable, but the reflection to which it invites makes it one of the richest and most complex works that have been released recently. And it’s great that they’ve nominated her for an Oscar, but even better that we already have the opportunity to enjoy her on the big screen.