Paul Thomas Anderson praises Todd Field’s ‘LIBRARY’: ‘Difficult to drool over’
Paul Thomas Anderson and Todd Field continue their professional romance.
The directors of “Licorice Pizza” and “TÁR” have been vocal about their admiration for each other’s work: Anderson most recently introduced Field at the 2023 Directors Guild Awards on Feb. 18, where Field received the Feature Film Award for “TÁR.” “
“The last time Todd Field shot a movie, it was President George Bush and there was no iPhone,” Anderson told the audience in an exclusive IndieWire video. “There were rumors that he was playing in cemeteries, secretly performing for corpses, but it turned out that he was waiting to pounce on us and make the film TÁR. We all agreed it was worth the wait.”
The ‘Boogie Nights’ helmer continued: “The opening shot is taken from a phone and is a stark but unsettling shot that puts us in a contemporary story and makes us look at our world and all its weaknesses over the past few years . I know we’re here to honor you as a director, but I want to credit your writing as “THE LIBRARY” makes its first cut with the audience in the first reel: “We’re all capable of murder, and it’s an awesome handbag anyway.”
“TÁR” stars Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, a disgraced conductor dealing with the fallout from a #MeToo scandal and its cultural implications for her career.
“The LIBRARY is funny. Very funny. Deeply, deeply funny. It’s also a ghost story,” Anderson said. “Every detail counts in this film. The slightest touch on someone’s shoulder… Nothing no intentional or full of intention. This makes for an incredibly suspenseful film. A massive crash from a band makes you think Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees just entered the building. You’re on the edge, waiting to see what happens next, or even what the movie is about, and 45 minutes. Then when Tár Lydia says, “Where’s the matcha?” it’s the first moment you see the great dam break and the pieces begin to fall.”
Regarding Field’s collaboration with Blanchett, Anderson exclaimed, “Cate Blanchett, as a director, has certainly chosen the best partner in crime to pull off this story. Every director has to disappear at some point: “Am I driving the car or is the car driving me?” It looks a bit like the car you drive in the movie: a fast German sports car capable of excessive performance. But it probably drove him to his best performance.”
Anderson added, “Todd directed it with such perfectly controlled swagger and gusto that it’s really hard not to drool over another director.”
But according to Anderson, the most important achievement of “TÁR” is that it reinvigorates the “art film”.
“For me as an audience member, it was magical to watch. He made a film that was considered a very dirty word for a few years. He made an art film,” said the “Magnolia” author. “But for those who haven’t seen it, don’t worry: this art is not fussy or pretentious. Just razor sharp, pitch black and hilarious. It is a very focused mirror capable of the worst forms of our human behaviors. It’s also a blast.”
Field applauded the other nominees during her acceptance speech at the 75th annual DGA Awards.
“All of us honored here tonight are standing on the shoulders of giants, members of our team whose superhuman efforts have helped us achieve our goals. My DGA brothers are truly giants,” said Field. “There is often a war analogy when talking about filmmaking, and anyone who has had the opportunity to direct a film understands why.”
Field reflected, “A few years ago I won an award for my first film (‘In the Bedroom’) and I looked out at a sea of faces like that. Mike Nichols, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg were there. I thought I was going to throw up. The room began to spin and all I could think about was the years I spent watching the work of these three masters, learning from them, obsessing over every detail. And I basically found myself telling the room that I had seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark” 350 times. That wasn’t hyperbole. In high school, I worked as a projectionist at a secondary movie theater and read everything I could get my hands on to learn how to make someone like Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg. At the end of the event, Steven walked across the room and said hello. I was shaking. He was warm, polite and incredibly generous and congratulated. Then he said, “But what matters is the DGA. When your peers, when the people who actually make movies, when they tip your hat to you. It was a dream and of course he was right… I am grateful to be in your company sir.
Field also praised leading actress Blanchett, calling the Oscar winner “the greatest collaborator of artists I’ve ever experienced.”
“TÁR” is currently nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Blanchett), Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.
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