Wed. Feb 19th, 2020

«Ema»: a sharp and generational portrait of reggaeton

One of the initial sequences of «Ema» is capitalized by a beautiful choreography where a burning sun ends up radiating the setting of a burning red, condemning everything around it to turn in its orbit. «That sun is, in some way, Ema», explains the Chilean Pablo Larraín two days after the presentation of the film in the past Venetian Mostra. «I wanted to create a female character that was everything at once: a daughter, a sister, a lover, a wife, a dancer and a mother». “Ema” is her and her galaxies. Without Mariana di Girolamo’s force of attraction, that sun would have lacked bursts. «At first, the protagonist must be 65 years old. Then we passed to a woman in the mature age, but the thing changed when I saw a sign of Mariana in the street. We stayed and I realized that without it there would be no movie ».

«Ema» is a markedly generational film. Of a generation, the “millennial”, which has nothing to do with that of Pablo Larraín, who has already turned 43. Hence the tape also has something inquisitive, curious sociological exploration, by someone who feels closer to the character of Ema’s husband, choreographer played by Gael García Bernal, than his heroine. «Ema belongs to a generation that catches me away, that’s why field work has been so fascinating. People like Mariana have, for example, an idea of ​​sexuality and gender identity much freer than what I can have. There are no binarisms, there are no prejudices when it comes to changing partners, or sharing lovers, ”says Larraín. In that sense, that freedom takes shape in reggaeton, its sweat and its voluptuousness.


The first thing that may surprise the neophytes of this Latin dance is that Ema, clearly an empowered woman, who in no case bends to the power structures of the hetero-patriarchy, surrenders to reggaeton with such devotion, often being her lyrics A compliment to Neolithic machismo. In one of the most memorable moments of the film, there is an anthological rifirrafe between the character of García Bernal and those of Ema and his colleagues who is directly inspired by the suspicion that this urban dance arouses among those who raise their eyebrows at popular culture . «We had to take great care to tell actresses that reggaeton is macho. They told you that the macho thing was to tell them what and how they should dance, ”says Larraín. «For them, reggaeton is freedom. His generation is very individualistic but also shows great respect for the collective ».


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