1 Shot Wednesday: Backyard

Spring has exploded. The skeletal trees are filling up fast. Yesterday what was blossoming is now leafing. This is my first spring in Virginia. I am loving the grass and our backyard cows as they meander back and forth in the field behind us.

Since you enjoyed last week’s poem, here’s another. This time by Emily Dickinson.

“A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period –
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay –

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.”

The urgency. Hurry up and get an eyeful–no sooner does Spring arrive than it’s gone. I find myself staring hard at each daffodil, each dogwood. I take deep breaths of the hyacinth and the dirt and listen to the conversations of the Cardinal and Robin.

Welcome back, the color green!

My mind wandered to Cate Blanchett‘s performance as the Maestro composer in the film Tár. Once again she proves how formidable she is. Will she win Best Actress?

Ruby, Jim, and I took a walk around a field by our Virginia home.

Tár. It’s a character-driven story catering to an audience that appreciates classical music and the competitive landscape of symphonies, players, and the power of the conductor. If you know little about this culture, then Tár opens the doors wide for all to see what they’re missing.

It does not matter that many of the assertions presented by Lydia Tár as the guest of honor at a prestigious interview were over my head. It was the powerful way Cate Blanchett delivered the lines with utter confidence, while seconds before, she can hardly suppress a panic attack. Cate reveals the inner turmoil and the composed exterior of her character flawlessly. You can’t take your eyes off Lydia. Cate jumps from the languages of German to English, the history of music, and the ins and outs of composers and conductors with panache.

The landscape feels English this morning.

A theme in the movie is the converging of gender roles. Lydia Tár tailor-made suits replicate the album covers of her heroes. She is manly, the father of her adopted daughter, and the husband to her partner. She reigns over her orchestra possessively. She is bored with sycophant males and male students who dare to disagree with her. She is condescending, supercilious, and merciless. She is a titan, a male.

Lydia is trapped in a world of her own making and suffers emotionally. She becomes aroused by the sensual, female cello player (Sophie Kauer), who wears green velvet boots and plays with a rare, childlike passion. She is unfettered by rules and plays superbly. Director Todd Field plays upon the visual symbolism of green for jealousy. His camera follows the boots from the bathroom to the stage. Lydia is inspired, and it begins her downfall. It’s a pivotal part of the film and Field’s best shots.

Trees rising to trees.

The unresolved relationships and perplexing ending keep me from loving the story, but the acting alone is worth a view. Lessons on how one conducts a symphony were my favorite part. Lydia is adept at showing you how it’s done as only her mentor could do it: Leonard Bernstein. Remember those Leonard Bernstein television programs? I bet Todd Field watched a hundred when he created his script. Field’s intellectual screenplay has a huge chance of winning in the Original Screenplay category.

What is certain is Cate Blanchett’s performance.

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