January 31, 2023

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Marin Alsop, Cate Blanchett name-checked ‘her’ Slams film

2 min read

Marin Alsop, the female conductor name-checked by Cate Blanchett in her latest film “Her,” condemned the project, saying it upset her “as a woman … as a conductor … as a lesbian.”

Blanchett is already tipped for an Oscar for her performance as Lydia Tarr, a lesbian conductor accused of being abusive to young women.

Several viewers, including New York Times writer Zachary Wolfe, have found parallels between Allsopp and Tarr, as both are Leonard Bernstein protégés, both are lesbians, both are married to orchestral musicians (with whom they have children), and both are, until recently, the only women to lead a major orchestra. Conducted (alsop in Baltimore, ter. of the Berlin Philharmonic).

And in the film’s first act, in a scene where Tarr is interviewing real-life New York writer Adam Gopnik, he even name-checks Alsop, saying: “On the question of gender bias, I have nothing to complain about. Neither should Nathalie Stutzman, Laurence Equilbe, Marin Alsop or Joanne Falletta. There were so many incredible women who came before us, women who did the real lifting.

However, a major difference between the two conductors is that Tarr is accused of sexual misconduct in the fictional film, a plot twist that Alsop now calls “outrageous”.

“I first read about it in late August and I was shocked that I had heard of it first,” Allsopp said of the film in an interview with the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper. “Many superficial aspects of Tár’ seem to align with my own personal life. But once I saw it I was no longer concerned, I was outraged: I was outraged as a woman, I was outraged as a conductor, I was outraged as a lesbian.”

“To have the opportunity to portray a woman in that role and make her an abuser — that was heartbreaking for me,” she continued. “I think all women and all feminists should be disturbed by this kind of portrayal because it’s not really about female conductors, is it? It is women as leaders in our society. People ask, ‘Can we trust them? Can they act in that role?’ It’s the same question about a CEO or an NBA coach or a police chief.

“There are so many men — real, documented men — that this film could be based on but, instead, it puts a woman in the role but gives her all the characteristics of those men. That seems contradictory. To assume that women will either behave identically to men or become hysterical, insane, insane is to perpetuate something we’ve already seen so many times in movies.”

“Tár”, written and directed by Todd Field, premiered in Venice last year where it received a rapturous response. Martin Scorsese has also said that he is a fan of the film.

Alsop himself became the subject of a feature documentary, “The Conductor” by Bernadette Wegenstein, which was released in 2021.

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