Wednesday, April 17, 2024

CULTURE | 30-12-2022 13:29

‘There is no end to love, there is a beginning of a different love’

An interview with Tamara Tenenbaum, Lali Espósito and Erika Halvorsen – the author, producer and creator respectively of the hit Prime Video show, El fin del amor.

El fin del amor (“The End of Love”), the popular Prime Video that seized the cultural zeitgeist earlier the year, has a host of attractions. 

On the one hand, the fictional series originates from the successful essay series published in 2019 by philosopher and poet Tamara Tenenbaum (El fin del amor. Querer y coger en el siglo XXI). On the other hand, the adaptation of the story is a result of work put together by Tenenbaum and Erika Halvorsen, who has several other successes that were made with her head and her pen, such as the television projects Amar después de amar and Pequeña Victoria

Likewise, the cast of this new release is headed by actor and musician Lali Espósito, a star combination of talent, originality and massive appeal, who is supported by big names from the local acting scene, including Verónica Llinás, Lorena Vega, Mike Amigorena and Alejandro Tantanian, among others.

The 10 half-hour episodes follow the part-fictionalised life of Tamara Tenenbaum herself, played by Espósito, who is also a producer on this creation. The character traverses tensions, the product of a search for personal freedom, which occurs within the framework of a family tradition where there are some customs of her Jewish family of origin, and in contemporary society, where monogamy and heterosexuality prevail as the norm.


What does the end of love mean? What remains then after this ending?

Lali Espósito: The interesting thing about the concept is that, in reality, it is not the end of love itself; it is the beginning of a different love. It is finishing one thing to start another, as happens to us at work, in life itself, in more introspective processes. Love will never end: we are love. The series talks about love, in fact.

Erika Halvorsen: I don't know what love is, but we can talk about love. I am interested in love in this, in everything. This series was a very loving process, we had a very loving team. I claim love in all areas of life, not only in a couple.

In fact, the group of friends in this series have a WhatsApp group called "The beginning of love." We have each other as colleagues and partners. There is no end to love, there is a beginning of a different love. There is an exploration, a breaking down of structures that perhaps you do not want as they were taught to you and you need others. It is also that nakedness that love has. If I throw myself into the pool of "I don't want this monogamy", then, what do I want? What's up? There is a pool with data, which you can jump into, which requires a lot of courage and feeling alone, too. But love is the basis of all of that exploring.


What does the series propose on the place of women that can be extrapolated from that specific universe that reflects young-middle class women in an urban environment without maternity on the horizon?

E: Often I see series and movies that have nothing to do with me, but I can empathise with what happens to those human beings that I see, beyond the context of their life. Tamara, who is a middle-class girl, a worker, has three jobs because one is not enough for her. In fact, one episode states that the true taboo of this generation is money and not sex. I don't have an Orthodox Jewish background, but I empathise with Tamara. I have an economic reality, an absolute privilege for the country in which we are; I am an artist, I am an actress, I create a character. We set up a life for you, but we are not telling you the purchasing power of that character, we are telling you what happens to her, that Tamara’s middle class is a place from where we can stop to talk about social things.

Tamara Tenenbaum: Regarding motherhood, what appears the most in the series is Tamara's relationship with her mother. It is a series more about still being a daughter, than about being a mother. There are two very different generations, who, even when they fight, have the desire to understand each other. For example, when there was the discussion about abortion, many people said that their daughters had brought them new arguments. In the series, the daughters not only rebel, but can also bring new worlds to their families.

H: There is an image of the corset that Tamara used in her adolescence that can serve as a metaphor for women, that we are breaking a corset all the time. When Tamara leaves her orthodox clothes behind and can wear whatever she wants, she falls prey to that corset that accompanies her throughout adolescence. So, how many corsets do women have to break and put back together? The couple, the worlds, the groups, a job.


In the series, many female characters are depicted. Taking it as a small word, where are the men? What happened to them?

E: I do not know. Men have always been marking territories. Now we women begin to make them see us a little more. Where the man is in this series does not concern me; the man is always there making decisions; they are the executives of Prime Video. Now we are making our mark: "We are here." It is not a "you and me", but a "me too". We have this female lead, we have this showrunner, spectacular directors like Leti Dolera and Coca Novick. It's a super team of women. Where are the men? They are there and I hope they also watch this series. There are also characters like that of Andrés Gil, a great actor, who plays Tamara's boyfriend at the beginning of the series and has the narrative and emotional arc of the heteronormative male and its contradictions. The series does not focus only on this feminist protagonist and the female characters, but also on what happens to the man with Tamara’s exploration.


Just as many people will celebrate the existence of this series, do you envision viewers criticising the ideas that emerge from it?

T: Each time, I understand less and less about audiences. They are very segmented. You never know what they like and stop liking. Obviously, a lot of people are going to say: “Oh, this is a series for girls or young people.” I think the opposite. You can watch the series in the privacy of your home; anyone sees it and anyone comments on it. It's going to go places I thought it wouldn't. At the same time, a lot of girls are going to talk that have exactly the same life as me and it would seem that they are going to love it and they are not going to love it. Luckily, people are deeply unpredictable.


Lali, how is your version of Tamara? How did you build her as an actor, having the real Tamara so close, so much a part of the project and even the episodes and their script?

E: First, I thought that I had to do the character from the Tamara that was in front of me and with whom we did the back and forth of the scripts. When I started working with Leti Dolera, the decision was different: I decided that I was not going to imitate her. I built my own character, which according to Tamara Tenenbaum, is much more empathetic and likeable than she is. The character is more loving, but maintains Tamara's way of thinking, in her books, her ways, her experiences.



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