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Year: 2023 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Todd Field 
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant, Nina Hoss  
An image from Tár


“Gripping”, “mesmerising”, “riveting”... these are probably not the first words you expect to hear in response to a film about an orchestral conductor. Nevertheless, this festival favourite arrived with stellar word-of-mouth, particular praise being levelled at the masterful Cate Blanchett. Luckily the film matches her usual full-throttle commitment; Field found the same harshness in the cloistered circles of classical music as Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher, but has revved it up to a modern-day fever pitch.

Seeming to position itself as a biopic – and fooling many viewers this way when it first appeared – Tár takes its central character seriously: her family life with violinist wife Sharon, triumphs and disputes at work, along with the pre-established celebrity status she must maintain. As these public and private pressures take their toll, the film documents the downfall of its imperious lead, with impeccable directorial style (amazingly, this is Field’s first film in 16 years).

A lot of the buzz has been around Tár as an urgent film, a ‘cancel-culture’ drama of sorts. It does find plenty to explore around the internet’s reception of Lydia Tár herself, the irony of these invisible voices that built her name and platform being able to tear her down just as easily. And through it all, Blanchett must negotiate the various stresses at play while having to spend her work life practising a kind of performative focus. For this, at least, Tár should absolutely be a worthwhile watch; a relevant film with a livewire energy that will enthral its audience regardless.

Max King

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Screenings of this film:

2022/2023 Spring Term (digital)
2022/2023 Spring Term (digital)