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Ema 2019



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About Ema 💬

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After a shocking incident upends her family life and marriage to a tempestuous choreographer, Ema, a reggaeton dancer, sets out on an odyssey of personal liberation, in this incendiary drama about art, desire, and the modern family from director Pablo Larraín.

Adoptive parents Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo) and Gastón (Gael García Bernal) are artistic free spirits in an experimental dance troupe whose lives are thrown into chaos when their son Polo (Cristián Suárez) is involved in a shockingly violent incident. As her marriage crumbles in the wake of their decision to abandon the child, Ema embarks on an odyssey of liberation and self-discovery as she dances and seduces her way into a daring new life. Centering on the sinuous, electrifying art of reggaeton dance, Ema is an incendiary portrait of a lady on fire, the story of an artistic temperament forced to contend with societal pressure and the urge to conform.


Q: When did you become interested in reggaeton dance?

Pablo Larraín: Up until before this film, I had no particular interest in reggaeton. But during the production process, I got to know it and understand why the entire generation that is represented in this film listens to this music. It has a rhythm that is everywhere, like any strong element that comes from pop culture. You're there and you're forced to live with it. It's a cultural exercise that has its own ethical and aesthetic existence. I understand it. I learn from it and it ends up interesting me. I actually kind of love it.

Q: Describe your heroine Ema in your own words. What does she want out of life?

Pablo Larraín: Ema is a paradigm: she's a character of characters. Daughter, mother, sister, wife, lover and leader. She's very powerful and presents a striking, beautiful sort of femininity. She's motivated by relentless individualism, as she clearly knows what she wants and is capable of seducing those around her in order to line up her destiny. She wants to be a mother and have a family; perhaps what moves and motivates her the most is love.

Q: Describe Ema and Gastón's dynamic - what binds them together?

Pablo Larraín: This is a couple that has a lot of things in common: their professions, cultural interests, dance. They have a deep love for one another. I think they're a couple that looks dysfunctional, but in the end, they turn out to be quite organic.

Q: You're known for making «autopsies of the past» - is your latest film an autopsy of the future?

Pablo Larraín: I don't think this is an autopsy of the future: it's a testimony of today. The people from the generation that we can observe in this film, who were probably born during this century or towards the end of the previous one, belong to a generation that dances without any sort of shame. They express themselves with their bodies and with music in a way that is completely different to my generation. This is my first film set in present-day Chile, where I speak of a generation that isn't my own. So it's new. It was a very illuminating and fascinating process.

Q: What else would you like audiences to take away from this movie?

Pablo Larraín: I have no idea what the spectator will take away from the film, because the film isn't a closed-off piece; it allows for a space, a crack through which the spectator can enter and exit so that each person can provide closure to it from his or her own biography. For each person, Ema will be a different film.

Ema Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Pablo Larraín

Writing Credits

Pablo Larraín

Alejandro Moreno

Guillermo Calderón


Mariana Di Girolamo

Gael García Bernal

Paola Giannini

Santiago Cabrera

Cristián Suárez

Paula Luchsinger

Antonia Giesen

Catalina Saavedra

Giannina Fruttero

Josefina Fiebelkorn

Natalia Bakulic

Paula Hofmann

Susana Hidalgo

Amparo Noguera

Mariana Loyola

Music by

Nicolas Jaar

Cinematography by

Sergio Armstrong

Genres: Drama, Music

Country: Chile

Ema Official Trailer

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