One three-letter word has given me unreasonable amounts of joy this year, and that word is Tár.
Blazoned in all caps across movie posters, Tár (or TÁR) is not just a movie title but a feeling. A lifestyle. When you see Todd Field’s latest movie, starring Cate Blanchett as brilliant conductor Lydia Tár, you’ll probably start off knowing nothing about our protagonist. However, by the time the credits roll, Tár will have settled into your bones — and not just because it’s a brilliant film. No, Tár has woven its way into my daily life in a far stupider way, one that Field and Blanchett may not have anticipated but which I hope they enjoy.
As it turns out, the word “Tár” makes for excellent pun material. (Or should I say, excellent pun maTárial.)
“Tár” really is a perfect storm of pun-worthiness. It’s short and snappy, making it easy to incorporate into words. Then there’s that accent over the á, a bold assertion that you are in the presence of a (s)Tár. An accent-less “Tar” just doesn’t pop in the same way visually, even though the accent itself doesn’t change how the name is pronounced. It’s just there, like Lydia herself — puzzling, defiant, generating conversations and drama alike.
Perhaps what delights me most about these puns is the juxtaposition between how silly they are and how very serious Tár is. Tár is an intense character study that can at times be quite funny, especially considering its brutal punchline of an ending. But to see a film that will likely be a major awards contender get lovingly joked about endears Tár to me even more. It’s a piece of art that we can take seriously but can also poke fun at in a light-hearted way.
Since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Tár puns have been appearing all over my Twitter feed, in between dismal headlines about our crumbling democracy, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the levity. My favorites — and the ones I see the most of — tend to combine the title of this intellectual drama with more mainstream movies or pop culture references, a culture clash that heightens the absurdity of it all.
Can’t wait to see Tárth Vader
Don’t forget AvaTár: The Way of WaTár
Did you hear that Harry Styles spit on Lydia Tár?
Lydia Tár takes on the Mushroom Kingdom
With her blonde hair, Lydia Tár would fit right in the Tárgaryens
Sure, some may consider puns to be the lowest form of comedy. And, yes, it is a little ridiculous for a joke with the same punchline to crack me up every time. But Lydia Tár and her multiversal pun counterparts (or counterTárts) have been a reliable source of laughter when I’ve sometimes had trouble even cracking a smile.
Just imagine: ultra-composed Lydia Tár, wearing one of her trademark suits, in blue alien form for AvaTár. Or Tár conducting the Force like it’s an orchestra in Tár Wars. The bizarreness is off the charts, and I would pay good money to watch Blanchett deliver an Oscar-caliber performance in any of these settings.
On top of all that, how funny is it to think of people in the world of Tár teasing Lydia Tár with these memes? I can see it now: Lydia scrolling through Twitter (TwitTár?), grumbling at people Photoshopping her into movie posters. She has an EGOT, and this is how people choose to commemorate her? Preposterous!
So, join me in 2022’s most gloriously dumb film tradition yet: throwing “Tár” into any and every word you can possibly think of. The Tárty has only just sTárted, and hopefully, it’ll never end.