Watch Cate Blanchett Break Down in ‘Tár’

The writer and director Todd Field narrates an emotional moment from his film, which stars Cate Blanchett and is nominated for six Oscars.

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By Mekado Murphy

In “Anatomy of a Scene,” we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into making key scenes in their movies. See new episodes in the series on Fridays. You can also watch our collection of more than 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

When Lydia Tár opens the door to her childhood home, she also unlocks a flood of emotions in this scene from “Tár,” which is nominated for six Academy Awards.

Cate Blanchett stars as Lydia, a renowned conductor whose reputation is tarnished after a scandal. This scene comes near the end of the film.

After playing a few notes on an out-of-tune piano, Lydia makes her way up to her childhood bedroom, where she finds a collection of Leonard Bernstein videos she watched when she was young. She puts one in the VHS player and sits to take it in.

Narrating the sequence, the film’s writer and director, Todd Field, said, “As written, this scene was a grace note. That’s it. In the script, it simply said, ‘close on Tár, remembering the effect this first had on her.’ But in practice, it became something altogether different.”

Field said that it was supposed to be a small moment before her brother comes home. “But when Cate sat down,” he said, “something happened to her, and the entire history of this room, this character’s childhood dream of salvation from it, combined with the disgrace she’s experienced, hit Cate like a wave. She had so fully embodied this character that she simply broke down.”

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