Image of Tár: “I feel like I have to really step up and deliver here”
The availability of the Dresden Philharmonic, the group representing Lydia’s fictional orchestra, was tight – in fact, production had to start with their scenes or they would lose them altogether. This means actors like Blanchett have to jump right into the choreography and music — and the crew has to get things off to a great start, too.
Todd School: We have to focus our energies and push them straight into this, with all our might. These are very, very short days because you only have an orchestra for at most 10 hours, and that doesn’t include their rest and eating time. I think the first day we did 96 arrangements, and that’s what Florian and I planned for weeks, months, trying to figure out what those settings were. I usually don’t use storyboards unless it’s absolutely necessary, but in this case it was.
Florian Hoffmeister: When we started talking about the movie, Todd was very adamant in insisting that this is a workspace. It’s not glorious, it’s hard work; they go in there, they rehearse all day. Authenticity is paramount. At first glance, you might think it restricts light, but I find it really liberating to approach the space with this subject. And Todd always said from the start that we should never move the camera—the golden rule. I still remember the first time that orchestra played, you just flew away. There was an immediate sense that the camera wanted to move to the beat of the music.
Field: When you watch the orchestra rehearsals, there’s some very rich footage of the rehearsal. And once you go down that rabbit hole, you stay there—at least for me, watching people rehearse is a lot more fun than watching a performance. There’s nothing fancy about the way it’s recorded. It’s usually one or two cameras with a few microphones needed and people take what they can. The camera is inside the orchestra or adjacent to the orchestra. That’s the approach for this. By design, it’s really trivial.
Hoffmeister: Though if it were really mediocre, it would be a pretty horrible space. The rope you walk on is how you can create an image that attracts, invites, and allows the eye to wander, within these rules. How do you shape that? We were lucky because the German music industry is so tightly regulated that the brightness level on their notepad must have a certain brightness. So by contract, the concert hall must have a certain brightness so that they can read their notes!