Cate Blanchett On ‘Tar’ Criticism: ‘Power Is Genderless’January 13, 2023
Early on in Tar, Cate Blanchett‘s eponymous conductor gives thanks to the female conductors who came before her, including Marin Alsop, the real-life trailblazer whose biography is riddled with the word “first.” On Monday, Alsop slammed the Todd Field-directed film as being “anti-woman.”
“To have an opportunity to portray a woman in that role and to make her an abuser — for me that was heartbreaking,” she said. “I think all women and all feminists should be bothered by that kind of depiction because it’s not really about women conductors, is it? It’s about women as leaders in our society. People ask, ‘Can we trust them? Can they function in that role?’ It’s the same questions whether it’s about a CEO or an NBA coach or the head of a police department.”
In response, Blanchett offered a rebuttal to BBC Radio 4.
“She’s entitled to her opinion, absolutely. But it’s a meditation on power and power is genderless,” said Blanchett. “It is a meditation on power and the corrupting nature of power and I think that that doesn’t necessarily happen only in cultural circles. . . I think that power is a corrupting force no matter what one’s gender is. I think it affects all of us.”
Presumably, this is exactly the kind of robust discussion Blanchett and Field knew they’d prompt when they made the film. On the one hand is the collective action problem: there’s only one high-profile movie about a woman conductor, so the portrayal carries outsized weight. On the other, perhaps Tar shouldn’t have to carry that weight of representation that would keep it from exploring something as complicated as corrupting power when a woman is in charge. It’s a worthy conversation which will most likely continue as Tar heads toward the Oscars.