Todd Field (‘TAR’ writer-director): ‘I don’t think art and morality have anything to do with each other’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I don’t think art and morality have anything to do with each other. Just like I don’t think riding a bicycle has anything to do with morality,” argues Todd Field, the writer-director of “TÁR,” which tells the fictional story of a world-renowned artist, conductor Lydia Tár (played by Cate Blanchett), whose career is threatened by allegations of misconduct. Watch our exclusive video interview with Field above.

“In terms of separating the art from the artist, I think that really the mitigating factor is time,” Field adds. “I think in terms of looking at the art and the artist in our present day, it’s absolutely fair and important that we have that conversation as a society. That regardless of someone’s background, regardless of their achievements in whatever field, we all still have to be accountable for our actions.” But the further back you go, the harder it is to make moral judgments. “I don’t think that any of us can have so much hubris to believe that we understand what society was like 1,000 years ago.”

The character of Lydia Tár had been on Field’s mind for a decade before Focus Features gave him “complete freedom to write whatever it was that I wanted,” which gave him the opportunity to finally bring her to life. She exists in the modern day, which opens her up to those debates about separating the art from the artist, but as far as her morality is concerned, he thinks, “We’re looking at someone who is complicated, competent to say the least, hypocritical, underhanded, sometimes untruthful. In short, she’s a human being. And does it make her guilty of the things she’s been accused of? It might, and it might not. But she’s definitely guilty of being a human being.”

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