You might also squirm at Lydia’s complacency in that moment, especially in retrospect. She treats masterclasses as an opportunity to showcase her own talents. This becomes a deadly temptation for her actual educational endeavors, which ultimately hinge on overcoming her ego. Her vanity displayed here by Lydia is undeniably seductive and will contribute to her eventual ruin. We may sense her hunch as we watch her walk and groom, unaware of the bewilderment or indifference in her audience’s eyes.
But in reality, the cinematic scene is much stranger than that. A discussion of his relevance to canonical status is reproduced in miniature. During her lunch at a Berlin restaurant, she reminds the retired maestro that philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once pushed a woman down a flight of stairs. Her much older male colleague wonders what it has to do with Schopenhauer’s ideas.
As does a similar discussion about Lydia herself, a highly talented artist who is also a narcissistic and immoral monster. Shortly after “Tar” was released, The Cut ran an amusing and greatly derided article by Brooke Lamantia, who claimed to have watched the film under the impression that Lydia Tarr was a real person. Anthony Laine, in The New Yorker, began her review with the ironic implication that she might be. Most recently, Dan Kois wrote an essay on Slate suggesting that the final part of the film — the one chronicling Lydia’s professional and personal failures — is happening in her head. . The rest of the movie is set.
I don’t really believe it any more than I believe everyone really thought there was a real Lydia Tarr, but Kois, Lane, and Lamantia seem to question the nature of reality. I understand the inherent creepiness of visible ‘tar’. itself.
Anna Torvaldsdottir is a real-life Icelandic composer who may have found new fame as Lydia Tahr’s nemesis. Thorvaldsdottir’s demise is a large part of the scene. Lydia mocks her “cool” trendiness, “hot” good looks, and score notation that “sounds like Rene Redzepi’s reindeer recipe.” A conductor playing her music is like a salesman who “sells cars without engines.” At one point, Max softly remarks that Thorvaldsdottir conducted his class on the same course as the previous master.
Perhaps Lydia is a similar war agent. Perhaps Field can’t stand Anna Torvaldsdottir, or perhaps Icelandic composer Hildur Gudnadottir, who composed “Tar”, feels so. Iceland is a small country. Modern classical music is a small world.