Since its premiere at last year's Venice Film Festival, Todd Field's film Tár has been lavished with praise, earning a host of glowing reviews and emerging as a strong contender to pick up several Oscar nominations.


The film tells the story of Cate Blanchett's Lydia Tár, a renowned musician and conductor whose life is sent spiralling by a number of accusations just as she is preparing for a career-defining live recording of Mahler's 5th Symphony

But despite the strong reviews, the positive reception hasn't been entirely unanimous – and last week the leading American conductor Marin Alsop slammed the film in an interview with The Sunday Times, calling it "anti-woman".

Alsop is referenced in the film and bears some similarities to Lydia Tár. After watching the movie she declared that "I was offended as a woman, I was offended as a conductor, I was offended as a lesbian".

With the film finally arriving in UK cinemas today, spoke exclusively to Field about what he made of Alsop's comments – and the writer/director explained that he could sympathise with Alsop's issues, at least to some degree.

"I mean, we spoke to a lot of conductors, female and male," he said. "And you know, I share her concern in terms of the fact that there's never been a female conductor of a major German orchestra so that itself makes this a fairy tale. There's never been a female conductor of one of the big five American orchestras. Why is that?

"And so I think it's an important question, I think it's important to understand it," he continued. "But again, this is not... you know, it's important that this character knows her onions and the conversation revolves around this milieu, but that's really not what the film is about, the film is about power – our hope was to invite an audience in to ask their own questions and have their own opinions, and everyone's entitled to them."

Todd Field and Cate Blanchett
Todd Field and Cate Blanchett. Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

He added: "That's kind of what we were after, in terms of power, as far as I know, is genderless. And so we're all very familiar with patriarchal abuse of power, we don't read about female persons or lesbian persons every day abusing power, and there's a reason for that – men have held it forever.

"And so hopefully, by having this character not be a male, it might afford the opportunity to look at power for what it is, which is something that anyone that touches it is going to be corrupted [by]."

Cate Blanchett also recently responded to Alsop's claims, explaining during an interview on BBC Radio 4 that although she had "the utmost respect" for the conductor, she didn't agree with her conclusions.

"I don’t think you could have talked about the corrupting nature of power in as nuanced a way as Todd Field has done as a filmmaker if there was a male at the centre of it," she said. "Because we understand so absolutely what that looks like. I think that power is a corrupting force no matter what one’s gender is. I think it affects all of us.”

Read more: Best new films of 2023 – 23 movies to look forward to

Tár is now showing in UK cinemas. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


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