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Cate Blanchett Dominates as Lesbian Conductor in Drama Tár 

Cate Blanchett Dominates as Lesbian Conductor in Drama Tár 

Cate Blanchett in Tár

"It wasn't written with Cate Blanchett in mind--it was written for Cate Blanchett," said director Todd Field.


For those who are still not over Blanchett's sapphic role in Carol, the Oscar-winning actor has a new film coming out where she'll play a queer composer and conductor. However, this time the film appears to take a darker turn.

The film, titled Tar, is directed by Todd Field and has already made Blanchett an early contender for the Academy Awards. It would be Blanchett's eighth Oscar nomination -- and third Oscar if she won. She previously won for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine.

"Perhaps we're noticing a trend for Blanchett - she wins an Oscar every nine years?" Variety muses.

At the Venice Film Festival last weekend, the film reportedly received a six-minute standing ovation at the end.

During a press conference at the festival, Field revealed that the role was made for Blanchett.

"It wasn't written with Cate Blanchett in mind--it was written for Cate Blanchett," Field shared, the Daily Beast reports.

In the film, Blanchett plays lesbian conductor, Lydia Tar, the first woman to conduct a major orchestra in Germany, the Berlin Philharmonic. She's an international celebrity. She's even an EGOT-winner. Nina Hoss, who is also getting Oscar buzz, plays Tar's wife who also happens to be her first violin. They share a daughter.

There are problems that arise though. Through affairs, stalkers, and emotional manipulation, Blanchett's character navigates a possible path to a crisis.

"No one but Blanchett has the right way of wearing a two-piece black suit with an open-necked white shirt, the way of shaking her hair loose at moments of abandon, the way of letting her face become a Tutankhamun mask of contempt," the Guardian writes in its review of Tar.

When asked by the Daily Beast about portraying a queer woman while LGBTQ+ rights and people have been so targeted in recent years, Blanchett said "it's important on a society level."

She continued, "Homogeneity in any art form is death. But I'm very wary of butting up the word 'importance' with the word 'art,' because I don't see that artistic practice is an educational too. I think what people do with it after the fact the thing--after 'the thing,' as Todd likes to call it--is made can be politicized, or disseminated, or discussed, or people can be disgusted with it, or offended by it, or inspired by it. But that is outside of our control."

Blanchett added that the film "felt urgent," but the character's sexuality wasn't her focus.

"I didn't think about the character's gender--or her sexuality--at all. And I think I love that about the film. It just is. It's a very human portrait, and I think that we have perhaps matured enough as a species that we can watch a film like this and not make that the headline issue. It just is."

The actor also reminisced about the impact of her lesbian character in Carol.

"Carol, when we made it, now I look back on it--no other films like that were being made, and Patricia Highsmith's story was the first story where a woman who loved other women wasn't redeemed by the love of a man or killed herself, so it's a seminal piece of work in that and many other respects," she told the Daily Beast. "But at the time Carol was made, I subsequently realized just how important it became to people. And at the time of making it, it was just something that we had to make, and so I'm not interested in agitprop. Whilst there's a lot of hot-button topics that come up in [TAR], it is not about any of those things. They're plot devices."

Tar hits theaters on October 7. Watch the trailer below.

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