Sun. Apr 2nd, 2023

Meanwhile, these dissenters don’t give “TÁR” credit for its mordant humor, refracted through classical music motifs. Lydia takes a page out of Berg’s opera Wozzeck, whose antihero is driven insane to the strains of accordion music. To annoy relatives trying to sell their late mother’s place next door, Lydia picks up an accordion and sings loudly and discordantly: “Apartment for sale! You’re all going to hell. Your apartment’s for sale!” And when rehearsing Mahler’s Fifth with her Berlin orchestra, Lydia orders them in German: “Forget Visconti!”—referring to the use of the Adagietto movement from that symphony in Luchino Visconti’s film “Death in Venice” (1971), where it is heard throughout to evoke a sense of melancholy. (Lydia, however, views the Adagietto, as Mahler did himself, as a statement of love, without the dirge-like tempo heard in Visconti’s film.)

Whether she’s bullying her neighbors, bossing around subordinates, or indulging in even worse behavior, depiction does not equal endorsement, of course, and through her missteps, Lydia becomes the master of her own demise. At one point, before she goes totally off the rails, Lydia announces: “Don’t be so eager to be offended. The narcissism of small differences leads to the most boring kind of conformity.”

Field and his film definitely do not promote conformity. Some might wonder if Field took the name of his protagonist from iconoclastic Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr—and whether he shares that director’s creative principles. After all, Tarr once famously declared: “I don’t care about stories. I never did. Every story is the same … I really don’t think, when you do a movie, that you have to think about the story. The film isn’t the story. It’s mostly picture, sound, a lot of emotions. The stories are just covering something.”

In an essay just published in the New York Times, conductor John Mauceri, the film’s musical adviser (and a Tony, Olivier, Emmy, and Grammy winner, best known as principal conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra from 1991 to 2006), notes that several women conductors, including Britain’s Alice Farnham and Simone Young, chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, have spoken up for “TÁR.”

Above all, he reminds us to keep the movie in perspective: ‘TÁR’ is not actually about any of us. Lydia is a fiction—made real by the performance of a great actress,” Mauceri writes. “We are all—composers, conductors, musicians, and audience—merely human. The lie some of us cling to, that the artistic greatness that pours through us makes us great, is the truth at the heart of ‘TÁR.’”

By admin