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Yeah yeah yeah, Cate Blanchett is incredible, and the arthouse world is champing at the bit for her newest film, Tár. The trailer is mysterious, effective, and dangles just enough plot to intrigue without treading into spoiler territory. Here’s what we know: Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, a composer and head conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, as rumors of past and present transgressions threaten her high-profile career.
But the big story here is the return of Portland-raised writer/director Todd Field a full 16 years after his previous film. In an interview with the New York Times, Field insists his hiatus came down to (A) raising his three kids, and (B) intentionally choosing difficult-to-develop projects, such as an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel Blood Meridian. Regardless, we’re happy to have him back.
During that absence, there were two ways we could get our Field Fix™. One way was rewatching his two directorial efforts: 2001 Best Picture nominee In the Bedroom (one family vs. a terrible tragedy) and 2006’s Little Children, which netted former child star Jackie Earle Haley an Oscar nomination. Both films are curious and frank and squirmy and neurotic, but also smart enough not to rubberneck.
The other way was rediscovering Field’s 25-year career as a well-respected character actor before he moved behind the camera. Mainstream audiences would recognize him from a pair of Jan de Bont movies (as one of the storm chasers in 1996’s Twister and as the dude who gets smacked in the eye with some piano wire in 1999’s The Haunting), while indie movie folk can point to Victor Nuñez’s Ruby in Paradise (1993) and Nicole Holofcener’s lovely Walking and Talking (1996). In TV Land, you could enjoy him on 28 episodes of the Herskovitz/Zwick ABC drama Once and Again (with Sela Ward, Billy Campbell, Shane West, and Evan Rachel Wood) plus scattered guest appearances throughout the ’80s and ’90s (like two episodes as a conniving college student on Nell Carter’s Gimme a Break!).
One more note about Field’s acting career: You’d think his final credit would be something prestigious, like his turn in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, but nope; it was on [adult swim]’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force as Ol’ Drippy, a polite pile of sentient penicillin. Life is full of curveballs.