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TAR (Tár) is a psychological drama directed by Tod Field. TAR narrates the story of a leading female composer, Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett), head of the Berlin Philharmonic. Tár lives with her wife Sharon (Nina Hoss), their adopted daughter (Mila Bogojevic), and her assistant Francesca ( Noémie Merlant). Lydia Tár is a fictional character. The screenplay, also written by Field, is so meticulous that someone could believe that this composer exists.

Like the famous example of Anna Karenina, the heroine of Leo Tolstoy, that somehow exists according to the semiotic theory of Roland Barthes. This is surely an advantage for the movie and contributed as a marketing technique to its commercial success. The film received critical acclaim, various nominations, and wins in competitions such as Venice Film Festival, BAFTA awards, and Academy Awards. It has 6 Oscars nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Field, and Best Actress for Blanchett.

The film starts with Blanchett, giving a public interview in a theater for the promotion of her forthcoming composition. She is also recording the 5th symphony of Gustav Mahler and her autobiography ”Tár on Tár”. Over here, we learn many details about her studies, her career, her vision in music, etc. Without a very successful transition, while the spectator emerges in all these biographical details and difficult music terms for quite a long narrative time, we move to a meeting. Here Blanchett meets Elliot Kaplan (Mark Strong), a banker and amateur composer co-founder Accordion Foundation.

Tár created this foundation to support young female composers. They also discuss Tar’s plans of changing her assistant at the Berlin Philharmonic and a vacant place for a cello in the orchestra. Then the main plot starts to unravel, after almost 15 minutes devoted solely to these two scenes. At this point, we would like to mention that, there is a serious problem with the transition during the whole movie, as well as the balance between its parts and total length.

The film touches upon various topics that are up-to-date and crucial such as political correctness. The scene where Tár dismisses a student in Juliard’s conservatory, who privileges the conservative male gaze of J.S. Bach instead of his music, is characteristic. Another main topic is cancel culture. This is the case of Krista Taylor, a former student of Tár, who received a frustrating reference and got banned from all the positions in major orchestras and finally commits suicide. But, the central topic that Field wishes to focus on, is what happens to all those cases in which one person accumulates so much power.

Tár is a great handler with the others. She seems to be kind and caring, but all she thinks about is music, her career and nothing else. She decides to promote a young Russian cellist Olga (Sophie Kauer) for the vacant orchestra position motioned above. Tár falls in love with her and takes her on a trip to New York while presenting her book. During this trip, the case of Krista Tayor becomes viral in the news and social media, when Francesca reveals it. She is also accused for sexual assault in Olga and offensive behavior for the dismissed student in Juliard’s. The cancel culture is here again, this time for Tár.

Blancett in her role is outstanding and her Oscar nomination is worthy. The other cast has also a good performance. The film, although it received good reviews, wins, and nominations, it is not so rewarding for the spectator. This does not mean that is a bad film, but surely, it does not meet these high standards. Transition problems, balance, whole length, and a vague ending are the main problems. If it did not touch so hot contemporary issues and Blancett did not give such a performance, the film would be just another one ”ready-made” for the Oscars.

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