In connection with the release of blockbuster queer drama “Tar,” Tracy E. Gilchrist of Advocate Today sat down with film stars Cate Blanchett and Nina Hoss to discuss the significance of narratives that feature LGBTQ+ women.
“Tar” follows the story of Lydia Tar, a renowned conductor on the verge of elevating her career through a significant symphony recording, who is seemingly thwarted at every turn.
As Lydia facilitates her own downward spiral, her partner, Sharon (Hoss), and their young daughter feel the effects.
As a violinist in Lydia’s orchestra, Sharon originally connected to the maestro through music. Hoss shares that was what provided the spark for their romance onscreen and motivated her performance offscreen.
“They meet in this love of making music, and that’s everything to both of them,” she says.
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While Blanchett has received critical acclaim for her performance as Lydia, Hoss has also been praised for the balance she brought to such an illustrious figure, albeit fictional.
“I looked at it and I thought, who is that person who wants to be the partner of someone who is such a genius in what she does?” Hoss shares. “And what is your part in that relationship? And what do you want to get out of that relationship? And where I think that these two really meet and love each other, and respect each other immensely, is in this field of music.”
“Tar” is set in contemporary times, not shying away from the fallout brought by the COVID-19 pandemic to interpersonal relationships, or to the professional music world.
“They’re emerging from the pandemic, they’re emerging from a time where they could not play music,” Blanchett says. “So, there’s a certain air of tension, but also expectation and release that they’re going back into the world. Everyone is slightly trying to find their feet again together.”
As for Lydia and Sharon, they’ve felt a disconnect from each other and their passions, something Blanchett believes any audiences can relate to, regardless of their musical inclinations.
“They’re slightly estranged from the thing that got them together in the first place,” she says. “And I think that’s a thing that people can really understand — You don’t have to be a musician to understand that particular experience at the moment. I think we all feel slightly outside ourselves.”
It’s not just a global pandemic hindering Lydia, as she often finds her strive for professional growth causes disconnect in her home life. As one of the only successful woman conductors in the world, her increasing paranoia puts a strain on her personal relationships.
While Lydia’s gender and sexuality are not overlooked in the film, Blanchett appreciates that they are not Lydia’s defining characteristics. Her success is treated equally to those of her male peers.
“I never think about my gender, until it’s brought up to me as a defining characteristic, or a door is closed in my face because of it,” Blanchett explains. “And I think that Lydia believes in the power of being the exception. She’s run this fellowship that is to help mentor young female conductors, and she thinks, Why can’t we just be conductors? Why does me standing on the podium every single time have to be a political act? I’m a musician. I want to be a musician. I don’t want to self-identify via my sexuality or my gender first and foremost, in the way that men don’t necessarily have to.”
As for her relationship with Sharon, Blanchett and Hoss both appreciate how the queer relationship was framed.
“It just was,” Blanchett says. “It wasn’t particularly remarkable that it was a same-sex relationship — it just was.”
“Tar” is in limited theatrical release. It will open in wide release Oct. 28.
This article originally appeared on AdvocateChannel.com, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Pride Media.