The Images of Tár: “I Felt Like I Had to Really Step Up and Deliver Here”

The availability of the Dresden Philharmonic, the group which stands in for Lydia’s fictional orchestra, was tight—so tight, in fact, that production had to begin with their scenes or they’d lose them altogether. This meant actors like Blanchett had to dive right into the conducting and musical work—and that the crew, too, had to kick things off with a bang.  

Todd Field: We had to  marshal our energies and push them straight into this, full force. These were very, very short days because you only get an orchestra for, at most, 10 hours, and that doesn’t include their breaks and them eating. I think the first day we did something like 96 setups, and that was something that Florian and I planned for weeks and months, trying to figure out what those setups were. I don’t typically use storyboards unless that’s absolutely necessary, but in this case it was essential. 

Florian Hoffmeister: When we started talking about the film, Todd was very adamant to emphasize that this is a working space. It’s not glorified, it’s hard work; they go in there, they rehearse all day. Authenticity was paramount. At first sight, you might think it limits the lighting, but I found it actually terribly liberating to approach the space with this theme. And Todd always said from the beginning, we should never move the camera—the golden rule. I still remember the first time that orchestra played, you just fly away. There’s this instant feeling the camera wants to move with the music.

Field: When you look at rehearsals of orchestras, there’s some very rich footage of watching rehearsal processes. And once you go down that rabbit hole, you stay there—at least for me, watching people rehearse is infinitely more interesting than watching performance. There’s nothing fancy about the way that that is documented. It’s typically one or two cameras with a couple of boom mics and people getting what they can. Either the camera is inside the orchestra or adjacent to the orchestra. That was the approach for this. It was, by design, really banal. 

Hoffmeister: Though if it were truthfully banal, it would be quite an appalling space. The tightrope on which you walk is how you can create an image that is arresting and inviting and allows the eye to wander, within these rules. How do you shape that? We were lucky in the sense that the German music industry is highly regulated, to the extent that the luminance on their note sheets has to have a certain brightness. So, by contract, the concert hall has to have a certain brightness so they can read their notes!

Great Debate

Source link