Click image to order
Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries


« Queens or Bust [by Andrei Codrescu] | Main | A Great Larkin Story (Not Mine) [by Jim Cummins] »

February 07, 2023


I add LERA AUERBACH, composer, conductor, soloist, to the renowned female artists cited in this article. She may be the only one to also be a great poet.

Agreed. I regret the omission. She's a true "Renaissance Woman."

John Belushi was a pretty good Beethoven, too!

Great to see "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" quoted: music by Harold Arlen, words by Yip Harburg. "She has eyes that folks adore so, / and a torso even more so." Here's to thee, Groucho.

Reading this ruined my day! Utterly pretentious, utterly pedantic.

The author (who is it?) is showing off their nit-picking knowledge of musical minutiae, classical and otherwise, rather than their understanding of what is a great work of cinematic art. This "review" is the equivalent of a medieval historian saying that there is no record of a tavern called The Boar's Head in East Cheap or that there never was a Londoner named John Falstaff.

The "reviewer" also gets many goose eggs wrong -- one after another. For instance, the scene of Lydia spreading the album covers on the floor has nothing to do with her listening to other conductors. She is choosing a prototype for the cover of her own DG recording.

The Juilliard scene is what we in the theatre call character exposition. It takes place early in the movie and exposes the fundamental generational conflict that will bring Lydia down in the end.

As for the EGOT credentials, Todd Field had a field day with that one, reminding us that LT was a fictional character, not real. The four awards are also fictional, not real.

Helll, if Mel Brooks can be an EGOT,why not Lydia. Tár?

The Elgar Cello concerto? Well, yes, of course the companion piece might have been chosen earlier. But this choice is about seduction, not programming. This is what we call artistic licence.

It is true that Leonard Bernstein could never have been Lydia's mentor, except indirectly. That bit of anachronism is excusable (as is the clock in Julius Caesar). To compare the fictional character Lydia to George Santos, a flesh-and-blood fabulist is -- well -- silly.

Jimmy Levine? Well, yes, Todd Fields chose not to shoot Lydia hopping into bed with Krista Tayler. The specifics of her tryst with Krista is not the point of the film. Krista appears from the back of the house in the first shot of the Gopnik sequence. She is Tár's nemesis, not her porno queen. The whole point of the film is that the tragic heroine's catastrophe is orchestrated (sic) from afar -- phone screens, YouTube edits, incomprehensible aspects of the Me-Too culture she does not understand.

Tár is a work of fiction. It is a work of art. It is about verisimilitude not accuracy.

Whoever you are, Diogenes Candle, you picked a greaat pseudonym. On the minus side, everything you write is bogus. The difference between verisimilitude and accuracy demonstrates that you are an expert on pretentiousnes.

Allow me to explain (as pretentiously as possible):

Verisimilitude is defined as the appearance of truth. Accuracy is the condition or quality of being true.

A film or a theatrical production may strive for verisimilitude without being completely accurate. This is true especially if the work is fictional (documentaries may strive for “accuracy” although that goal is elusive).

Tár has, to Todd Field’s credit, convinced many viewers that LT is, indeed, a real person. But she is not. She is a persona crafted brilliantly by Cate Blanchett within a screenplay for the ages. Ms Tár is, not to belabor the term, “bogus” by intent.

Therefore, the film’s artistic obligation is to create the appearance of truth rather than actual truth. Rather like Shakespeare created the appearance of truth at Elsinore without meticulously reproducing the actual court rituals, of which he probably knew very little.

Sorry to be so patronizing, but if you say everything I write is bogus without being specific, you deserve my condescension.

Oh, and Bobby Potato is a splendid nom de spud.

While I haven't seen the film and cannot adjudicate the dispute between Messrs Candle and Potato, I do find the column to be not pedantic but stimulating, and the proof of its power is that it seems to have prompted such strong responses.

In all cheekiness, I wish Profesor Saul would discuss "Cheek to Cheek" the same way the presentd the manyh versions of "All the Things You Are."

I loved this! I saw the film with a musician and she was, in general, quite impressed all around. Your breakdown has made me want to see it again. Thank you! Also, I'm going to look for the films "Eroica"and "Youth. Thanks for the recommendations. Stacey

Having finally seen the movie, I can read this piece with the attention it deserves. It's brilliant! Mega kudos.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

click image to order your copy
That Ship Has Sailed
Click image to order
BAP ad
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


  • StatCounter