by Chris Horner
A look forward, and backward, to some ‘cultural stuff’ for the coming year, old and new things worth seeing, hearing or reading. Here we go:
Unless you have been cut off from all media in the last few months, you probably will have heard of this new movie from Todd Fields. Cate Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, star conductor in the Berlin Philharmonic. She has a lifestyle of the celebrity conductor and as wee see her prepare to record Mahler’s 5th symphony we also see her life beginning to fall apart. It turns out she is not immune to the temptations of power that go with the role of Maestro.
Blanchett’s performance has been much praised, and it is indeed a tremendous thing: she must be near the head of the queue for an Oscar this year. It’s a great performance in a genuinely worthwhile and absorbing film. I don’t think it really expands our understanding of the themes it features: power and the exploitation young hopefuls by the (seemingly) all powerful star, the question of great art and flawed artists and so on, but it’s possible to come out of the movie thinking that it has. Blanchett’s performance has a lot to do with that. So a great performance in a very good rather than great film (assuming such categories can really be employed so neatly). Read more »