Sometimes enigmatic and confusing, sometimes fiery with emotion, Pablo Larrain’s intriguing Ema peels the layers off a dance with death.
Marriage Storyby Alexa Dalby
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
Pablo Larrain‘s (Jackie, Neruda) Ema builds up to its punchline in unexplained fragments – the flame thrower, the fires, the spectacular reggaeton street dance routines around the Chilean port city of Valparaíso, the theatre dance performance, the school class. And most of all Polo (Cristián Suárez), the adopted child who’s the catalyst for bisexual dancer Ema’s (Mariana Di Girolamo) anguish. Gael García Bernal as her controlling choreographer husband has a strangely passive role in inexplicable, unflattering dungarees. In the tensions of this marriage, they are tearing themselves apart in public. It’s a long wait until the mystery at the film’s heart is revealed, which then prompts a re-reading of the entire film.
Ema premiered at the Venice Film Festival, screened at the BFI London Film Festival and is released exclusively on Mubi on 1 May 2020.