Scorsese praised Todd Field’s “sublime acting” before awarding him Best Picture at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards Wednesday night.
Belle’s “TÁR” was for the ball at Wednesday night’s New York Film Critics Circle Awards, which took home honors for Best Picture and Best Actress, Cate Blanchett. Todd Field’s gritty epic about the downfall of the Berlin Philharmonic’s conductor still has a long way to go on its way to the Oscars, but the film has one fan whose appreciation will count: Martin Scorsese.
While the evening was light on star power compared to last year’s Best Actress winner Lady Gaga, the event at TAO in midtown Manhattan felt like a return to form for the critics’ block known for mixing mainstream commercial fare (Best Cinematography winner “Top Gun: Maverick”) that are potentially more challenging and indie fare (best international feature winner “EO,” as well as Best Director winner SS Rajamouli, whose hugely successful Hindi epic “RRR” is as accessible as any modern foreign language outing).
Cate Blanchett gave a hilarious speech upon accepting the Best Actress award, praising director Field as “the most creative collaborator I’ve ever encountered” and “a director like no other.” She said that “Todd is the kind of director you’d go for a walk with, and he’s warned you that you’ll almost certainly run into a bear, there’s a strong possibility you’ll lose a limb or part of your face, and you find yourself getting really excited about a bear? Damn yeah!”
But the highlight of the night, which also saw Todd Sollunds bestowed Best First Feature on “Afterson” director Charlotte Welles, was undoubtedly Scorsese’s unexpected appearance, awarding Best Picture for “TÁR”. There is no better statement, these days, than the impassioned words of the man who, When was the last time she was on stage in New York, called the obsession with box office numbers “disgusting”. (“TÁR” is light on those, with only $5.6 million in the box office so far, but never mind.)
“For too long, a lot of us see movies that pretty much let us know where they’re going. I mean, they take us by the hand, and even if it’s annoying sometimes, they kind of comfort us along the way so that by the end everything will be fine.” Scorsese said. “Now this is cunning, as one can cool off at this, and eventually get used to it. We lead those who have experienced cinema in the past—much more than that—to despair about the future of the art form, especially of the younger generations.”
He continued, “But this is in days of darkness. Clouds rose when I saw Todd’s film, ‘TÁR’. What I did, Todd, is that the texture of the film I made does not permit it. Every aspect of the cinema and the film I used testifies to that. The shift in locations, for example For example, shifting in locations alone does what cinema does best, which is to reduce space and time back to what they are, which is nothing.
“You make it so that we exist in her head. We only experience it through her perception. The world is her. Time and chronology and space have become the music she lives by. We don’t know where the movie is going. We just follow the character on her strange and disturbing path to her even stranger final destination.” Now, what you’ve done, Todd, is a real high-wire work, all of which is conveyed through a masterful mise-en-scène, as exact, precise, dangerously sharp angles and geometric edges etched into the kind of exquisite 2:3:5 aspect ratio of frame combinations. “.
Finally, Scorsese said, “The confines of the frame itself, the provocations of the long measured all take a reflection on the brutal geometry of her soul – the spirit of ‘TÁR’.”
See the full list of New York Film Critics Circle winners here.
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