Ema review – Pablo Larraín dances to a different tune | Film

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It’s quite the career sucker punch: Pablo Larraín follows the buttoned-up anguish of Jackie with this heady plunge into sweat-drenched melodrama and a stingingly malicious failing relationship. It’s a tonal swerve to rival François Ozon’s leap from the austere romanticism of Frantz to the lurid S&M mind games of L’Amant double.

The marriage of reggaeton dancer Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo) and her controlling choreographer husband Gastón (Gael García Bernal) hit the rocks after a failed adoption. Both blame each other and waste no opportunity to fire recriminating barbs across the dancefloor. Now the relationship is fraying, publicly and savagely. Everything about Ema and Gastón – and for that matter the film-making – is screamingly exhibitionist. And that includes their breakup.

The superficiality of these self-serving characters is reflected in Larraín’s direction. The film is all about the chase: it’s an aggressive seduction that teases with bold visual statements, with flesh and flame throwers. But does it satisfy? Not on any deep emotional level, certainly. But there’s something thrillingly primal about Ema’s scorched-earth approach to tearing down her marriage and rebuilding her life however she damn well pleases.

Source: The Guardian
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