"It's possible to make a film that is both good and entertaining"
by Alfonso Rivera
- After years of directing shorts and television series, Jorge Torregrossa has made his feature debut with The End, a film showing apocalypse from an intimate and existential point of view.
Cineuropa: In The End [+see also:
interview: Jorge Torregrossa
film profile], you leave gaps for speculation and show that you admire Hitchcock.
Jorge Torregrossa: It's the kind of filmmaking that I like, that which leaves gaps for the audience to fill in and imagine. Despite being very far from this genre, Antonioni and Cassavetes are just as important in this film as Hitchcock. The Birds was a reference that we used a lot, because The End has this same catastrophic but also abstract tone: You never know why some things happen, but you don't care. What is important is the adventure, how the world changes and how the tension explodes. There's also another important reference in my film: Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock. I saw it on television as a child and didn't understand anything, but it fascinated me. I have watched it again over the years and I still find it fascinating.
But some audiences always look for logic. Hitchcock himself used to say that sometimes one had to sacrifice credibility to bring along the plot and its suspense...
Of course, I would have liked to know what people said when they saw The Birds on the day of its release. How did people leave the cinema after seeing this ending -- this dysfunctional family, with all those birds around and sunset on the horizon? It's the film that marks the shift from classic to contemporary cinema.
The End shows a group of friends that worked in the past, but who now don't have much in common...
The theme of dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships is dramatically very rich. One of my actors defined it as a group of friends who have not reason to be friends, but who simply coincided in space and time. They haven't seen each other in 20 years and, little by little, will realise why they haven't done so: because they have absolutely nothing in common and, what is more, are all frustrated and unhappy.
Does the film's disastrous tone have anything to do with the current social mood?
Yes, the film's disaster is very contemporary. Is had to do with personal crises. It's not an invasion of aliens or a frozen-over New York, but it's not being happy, not having achieved what you wanted, or continuing to be in love with your secondary school boyfriend. There are also moments in which there is talk about meteorites and nuclear catastrophes, but the film is descriptive in setting tiny characters up against an epic natural phenomenon like the end of a world that has become hostile. Yes, there are many interpretations in this sense. It's a very contemporary disaster.
And one that is quite existential...
Absolutely. It's the basis of the film: that the characters wonder what it would mean for the people around them to disappear. It speaks of death and what it means to confront it. I think that Saramago once said that death means not being there the next moment. This literally happens in the film, but you still have to go on... What is happening is terrible and they are suffering, but they have to go on. It's very metaphorical. To what level are we something because people watch us? In The End there is more freedom to be, experiment, and live what you haven't lived, because already nobody is left. You don't have to continue pretending to be the person that the others think you are.
It's quite a challenge to achieve that a genre film evoke important themes and make members of the audience think while also entertaining them.
It was one of the things that we discussed with the producer, Fernando Bovaira. I love cinema being an emotional roller coaster, but I also love it making me think. This film is a gift because it allows me to tackle, plot, and question human themes.
How much did The End cost?
Five million euros
And it's a film that is not ashamed of its commercial vocation.
I'm not ashamed to say that this was always the intention. It's possible to make a film that is both good and entertaining. One thing can go perfectly hand-in-hand with the other.