Almost a year since it premiered at the Rome Film Festival, the dramatic omnibus “Tar,” which features a star-studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, Bruce Campbell and Henry Hopper, is still without a U.S. distributor or release date. But we guess it’s coming out somewhere in the world as the first trailer for the movie has finally arrived.
Helmed by twelve newcomer directors, all NYU film students, “Tar” is based on the work and life poet C.K. Williams, using four different actors to portray the man at different stages in his life. A variety of stylistic choices are used to help express his work in a movie that seems not so much plot driven, as aiming to achieve a variety of moods and tones. Here’s the official synopsis which gives a better idea of the scope and scale of the effort:
TAR is based on Pulitzer prize-winning poet CK Williams’ collection of the same name. Collectively written and directed by twelve filmmakers, the film blends together adaptations of twelve of the poems to create a poetic road trip through CK William’s life. The film takes us on a journey through several decades of American life from CK’s childhood and adolescence in Detroit in the 1940s and 50s to the early 1980s: CK (James Franco) and his wife Catherine (Mila Kunis) are married with their son Jed (name of actor). CK prepares for a reading of Tar in New York City, and spends his nights struggling to write new poems, haunted by memories of his past. As CK drives to his reading in New York City, he remembers central moments of his life: we come to experience and understand both his relationship to love and loss, and how he found his calling as a poet through the women in his life. The film takes us back and forth between past and present, punctuated by voice-over from CK Williams’ poems, recreating the experience of memory and exploring how the fragments of one’s man life can be turned into poetic expression: his loving relationship to his mother (Jessica Chastain), his first sexual experiences as a teenager (Henry Hopper), his first love (Nina Ljeti) and the struggle to preserve a form of innocence and wonder, the illness and loss of a close friend (Zach Braff), and finally his life together with Catherine.
The final result? Well, as you might imagine from first timers, it’s a bit uneven. Jessica Kiang reviewing the movie last year called it, “an irreproachably tasteful, easily digestible but an unsurprising, undemanding watch.” See for yourself below. [Vlicious!]