'Secrets of a marriage' (TV miniseries).
Television breaks down the 'Secrets of a marriage' again
I am a married woman, which sometimes I think is synonymous with being a scammed woman. I mean, I got married in love and I thought that marriage had to do with that, with love. He could have opted for a common-law partner and it would have been the same: changing the name of an institution is not the same as changing its meaning. I could not even have married and decided to cohabit and reproduce with a heterosexual male and the difference would have been more fiscal than sentimental. I don't regret having that party, but sometimes I do think about the scam behind monogamous heterosexual love. And that's exactly what the new HBO series in
Secrets of a Marriage
a response to Bergman's masterpiece almost fifty years later.
: the institution could still get worse.
Secrets of a marriage
by Ingmar Bergman was released in the early 1970s. The protagonists were Liv Ullmann (Marianne) and Erland Josephson (Johan) and during nine exceptional hours of footage they expressed the contradiction between the ideology and the conduct of a marriage, between their ideas about love and what they were able to do with them. That first couple was made up of two manual progressives, determined to face their own history as a way to change the world in general and capitalism in particular. She, a lawyer and he, a university professor, in love and with a future as promising as their ideas: free love, solidarity, respect, equality, personal growth within the couple ... The drama was that the ideals failed to cross the wall of intimacy conjugal. They both believed in love and equality,But she ends up abandoning her career as a lawyer to lock herself at home and take care of the children while he agrees to have it all at her expense, intimate well-being, and social success. And to celebrate it begins to have adventures with other women. There comes a time when everything that interests you is away from home, even love.
Johan is able to recognize the injustice of his privileges and, at the same time, he accepts them without fighting them until he becomes - and here Bergman is immense - his own victim. Because not only does he betray his wife but also his ideas, not about the simple fidelity but about the very essence of love. Marianne, for her part, is a lawyer with feminist ideas who accepts to place herself socially and intimately below her husband, not only because he puts her below (which too) or because women are conventionally below (which still), but also because, At some point, she agrees to inhabit an intimacy that she considers socially unacceptable.Marriage is for both of them an intimate betrayal before anything else and Bergman's work is colossal because it manages not only to show the inexplicable gap that exists between ideas and actions but also the tragedy involved in trying to suture this distance with love.
But what would happen if it was the woman who earned more than the man within the couple? What if he had been brought up in a certain sexual puritanism that added a duty to be monogamous - almost religious - to his sexual behavior? What if he was also the one who takes care of the children? That is precisely what the series directed by filmmaker Hagai Levi is about, a response to Bergman almost fifty years later. The narrative proposal is of course pertinent since it is a question that we have all asked ourselves at some time. What would happen if the structures changed? The answer is simpler than it seems, because what happens is simply that the structures change. But what happens to love then? Levi's series reveals that we have believed less in love than structures,perhaps because we learned with Bergman (or our parents) that love is not enough or does what it says. The result is that love is neither there nor expected in contemporary marriage.
The first thing the director clarifies in this new proposal is the object of study. The series talks about successful monogamous heterosexual marriages (that have lasted more than ten years according to the fiction) which means leaving a lot of couples out at the moment. However, it seems reasonable to respond to Bergman in the same terms. The dramatic couple is now made up of Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac and the good news is that the structures are finally different. Now she is a successful professional, the one who earns the most money at home and is dedicated to new technologies, while he is a university professor who commands little and earns less, since thought has lost its old (market) value in today's society. They have a big, beautiful house and only one daughter. Everything has gone super well and yet the institution does not improve,it may even get worse. 50 years later, the best of marriages is still a scam. It still functions as a social institution, but it is still a wasteland for personal growth and the opposite of learning feelings.
Apart from salaries and structures, the romantic novelty of this couple is that there is no longer a gap between ideology and behavior, but rather that ideology has become behavior. If Bergman's marriage suffered from contradictions between their ideals and their actions, the couple Levi proposes has never known an ideal that was not pragmatic. The only problem is that love requires a leap of faith rather than an estimate of damages and benefits. The result is that the protagonists of Levi do not like each other, although they are not able to tell themselves. Thus, this new and egalitarian couple, more than the intimate contradiction, represents the destruction of the intimate. Marriage is no longer a social institution but a labor society where there is a material economy and another of feelings.The language they use is still sentimental, but the grammar is not loving but business. This couple makes balances, calculates benefits and analyzes all situations with caution. So it looks a lot like that other institution that is work, that place that we don't like very much but where we go every day. It is sad, but it seems that we have changed everything at the cost of accepting everything, as in the Lampedusa drama. Or worse.as in the Lampedusa drama. Or worse.as in the Lampedusa drama. Or worse.
Otherwise, the series is mandatory because it does not compete with Bergman's, but rather engages in dialogue with it and incidentally challenges us here and now.
It makes me want to live another 50 years to meet the third couple in this social and narrative experiment.
I hope that in the future there will be room for love, I believe that the couple will no longer be monogamous or heterosexual and I am sure that they will not be married.
I'm happy for them.