TÁR, the Oscar-nominated film from Portland-raised filmmaker Todd Field (Little Children), is currently the subject of yet another odd cycle of news stories. This time, the “drama” revolves around whether the film’s fictional protagonist, scandal-plagued conductor Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) studied with Leonard Bernstein.
It all started when Field told The New Yorker, “It would be good for the Bernstein estate to let her lie about her association with Leonard Bernstein, even if she maybe never even studied with him, because the optics of that association would be very, very good, given that she’s a woman, given how Lenny’s life ended.”
It could have ended there. Instead, Bernstein’s estate decided to weigh in, sending a letter to The New Yorker jokingly refuting the notion that Lydia Tár “might have lied about studying with our father, Leonard Bernstein.”
“As representatives of Bernstein’s estate, and in the spirit of the ongoing hubbub over the film,” the letter stated, “we can assure Field that his heroine was a teenage prodigy whose talents were so formidable that she was granted special permission to be one of Bernstein’s conducting students at Tanglewood in the summer of 1990, during the final year of Bernstein’s life.”
The letter added, “His impact on her artistry is indelible, down to her churning ‘washing machine’ movements, an intriguing adaptation of Bernstein’s legendary podium style.”
Lydia Tár has ignored all of WW’s requests for comment. Possibly because she’s a fictional character.