« I am Petra’s father ». This is how Lydia, conductor of the prestigious Berlin Symphony Orchestra, introduces herself to the child who is harassing her daughter, with Lydia threatening the latter in an obscene manner.
In this film by Todd Fields, the main character played by Cate Blanchett is a complex female figure who interprets our contemporary world from the perspective of discourses of patriarchy and wokism. Lydia Tár is a woman in a position of power, she uses and abuses it, insisting on being called « maestro ». The beginning of the film shows us a brilliant woman, elevated to a star status, who has achieved what few women have. Furthermore, she lives openly her homosexual love life while violently refuting the woke discourse in a scene where she confronts a young man who refuses to play Bach.
A woman, like a man, can enjoy in the wrong way the power that a position of exception offers her. In current critics of patriarchy, men are charged, accused of being favored by the system to the detriment of women. « The term patriarchy contains in itself what it denounces. With this term, it is not only a question of a problematic in the father’s authority – legitimate or not – nor is it only a question of getting rid of a protective power. It is not only a question of rebelling against an overly repressive law and against a prohibition. It is about something else. It is about denouncing an abuse of power ». The fact that Lydia is a woman in this film allows us to question this. Is it because she is in a masculine position, even a father’s position, that Lydia, like a man would, finds herself abusing her power? Or is this inherent to the effect of power on speaking beings beyond their gendered position? Jouissance and the father are central themes in psychoanalysis. Lacan has shown the jouissance side of the father, reverse of the father of the old world, who pacifies. This enjoying father, incarnated here by Lydia, is a return effect in the face of the erasure of the Names of the Father, a real return, as shown by the increasing number of authoritarian figures at the helm of many countries.
But we are at a time of denunciation of abuse. However, « any change in discourse operates on the social bond since discourse compresses the real, structures language and assigns each one to a place in relation to the other ». Lydia violently pays the price.
The first scene shows a mobile phone filming her, with mocking comments. She is immediately in the line of fire, watched over by an anonymous eye. It heralds her dizzying fall as a result of a complaint against her for harassment, after the suicide of a young woman who had worked with her. Biased edited videos circulate. Lydia is insulted on social media; the invisible social body which judges goes into action. The interest of this film is also to depict the power that switches to the other side, a kind of equally enjoying super-ego that is embodied in the figure of the Other, whose political function Jacques-Alain Miller indicates. From the bright light of the western world, Lydia sinks into the darkness, having lost everything.
References from the author:
 Field T., Tár, psychological drama, USA, Germany, Standard Film Company, EMJAG Productions, 2022.
 Leguil C., « An interpretation of the critique of patriarchy », Nobodaddy, Blog Pipol 11, 17 March 2023.
 Berkane-Goumet S., « Woke discourse, a new rapport ? », Nobodaddy, Blog Pipol 11, 26 February 2023.
 Cf. Miller J.-A., « L’orientation lacanienne. Jalons dans l’enseignement de Lacan », lecture of 14 April 1982 given at the psychoanalysis department of the University of Paris 8, unpublished.
Translation: Polina Agapaki
Proofreading: Manuela Rabesahala
Picture : © Nathalie Crame