Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival
31 JUL 2020 — Film
New Zealand International Film Festival
R16 Sex scenes, offensive language & nudity
In Spanish with English subtitles
Few films in recent memory have blazed a trail as passionately as Pablo Larraín’s Ema, which signals the director’s return to the present and his native Chile via the incandescent city of Valparaíso.
Virtual unknown Mariana Di Girolamo, in a star turn you won’t be able to take your eyes off, plays the titular dancer, mother and pyro-lover impervious to social norms. On a quest to reclaim her adopted son Polo, whose absence explains her deteriorating marriage to choreographer Gastón (Gael García Bernal), Ema sets out on a path of deliberate resistance, embracing the orgasmic street movement of reggaeton and embarking on a fluid succession of relationships with people of all genders in her orbit. For reasons that don’t need explaining, she also owns a flamethrower and rejoices in burning shit down – a none-too-subtle metaphor for her relentless pursuit of catharsis and the film’s white-hot energy through which creative and sexual expression bursts forth.
Every bit the firecracker that had critics in Venice, where it premiered, clamouring for superlatives, Larraín’s film is visually stunning, fuelled with combustible symbolism and physicality, and a genuine war cry for dancers, lovers and the matriarchy everywhere. — Tim Wong
Presented in association with George FM.
Juan De Dios Larraín
Guillermo Calderón, Pablo Larraín, Alejandro Moreno
Sergio Armstrong (ADFCH)
Muriel Parra, Felipe Criado
Nicolas Jaar Production
Mariana Di Girolamo
Gael García Bernal
Multi-Trip Pass $77.50
[Ema] pulsate[s] with rambunctious, unbridled energy… A bold, ambitious work, graced by a towering performance by Di Girolamo, who dances through it with an irresistible and intoxicating aura.
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