Cate Blanchett says her new film, Tar, is a “meditation on power”, which she considers “sexless” after a famous female conductor branded the approach as “anti-woman”.
Written and directed by Todd Field, the film follows Lydia Tar, the complex genius conductor of a German orchestra, as she begins to unravel when she is at the height of her career faced with accusations about her behavior and the darker side of life behind her. success unfolds.
The film was widely praised by Blanchett, the 53-year-old Australian actress who won a Golden Globe for her role as the fictional Tar, and was also tipped for an Oscar.
However, 66-year-old American conductor Marin Alsop said in a recent interview with The Sunday Times that the character “disturbs” her as a woman, conductor and a lesbian.
She said that “many of the superficial aspects of Tar seem to fit in with my own personal life,” including being a lesbian married to an orchestra musician, and she teaches at prestigious music colleges.
Adding that her main problem is portraying women as leaders, Alsop added, “To portray a woman in that role and make her an abuser? For me this was heartbreaking.
“I think all feminists should be offended by these kinds of portrayals, because this isn’t really about conductors, is it? It’s about women as leaders in our society.”
Referring to Alsop’s criticism on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Blanchett said, “I have immense respect for Marin Alsop. He is a musician and conductor.
“And it’s a very provocative movie and it’s going to have a very strong reaction for people.
“What Todd and I wanted to do was create a really lively conversation. So there are no right or wrong reactions to works of art.
“This is not a directing movie and I think the circumstances of the character are purely fictitious.
“I looked at many different conductors, but I also looked at novelists, visual artists, and musicians of all kinds. This is a very unrealistic movie.”
Responding to Alsop’s criticism that there were “too many real, documented men” the film could be based on, and basing the film on an “anti-woman” female feel, Blanchett added: “She’s absolutely right in her opinion. But this is a meditation on power and power is genderless.”
The actress, who was considering focusing on a woman, said she thought you couldn’t talk about “the corrupting nature of power” in the same “subtle way” if it were a man.
“This is a meditation on power and the corrupting nature of power, and I think it just doesn’t happen in cultural circles,” he said on Thursday’s radio show.
“I mean, he could have been a master architect or the head of a big bank company.
“It’s also about giving birth to something and the creative process, but there’s also the destructive impulse behind it and I feel there’s a burn in it.
“But I don’t think you, as a filmmaker, could talk about the corrupting nature of power in as nuanced detail as Todd Field did if it had a man at its centre, because we totally understand what that looks like.
“And I think power is a corrupting force regardless of one’s gender, I think it affects all of us.”