The dance group in Ema (2019) Palace Films
The dance group in Ema (2019) Palace Films
Ema (2019) Palace Films

ACMI presents


Pablo Larraín | Chile | 2019 | MA15+

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ACMI Member



Sun 14 May 2023

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A platinum blonde reggaeton dancer burns all in her orbit in Pablo Larrain's gripping tale of seduction and manipulation.

A vibrantly loud movie, propelled by dance and lust, and a celebration of sexuality like no other film before it. It is a fountain of energy, both bewitching and terrifying all at once.

Jenny Nulf, Austin Chronicle

Free-spirited Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo) is a beguiling, stubborn and fiercely talented young dancer and teacher. Her passion lies in the reggaeton music she and her friends dance to on the city’s streets; she has forged a career as part of an experimental modern ensemble overseen by her husband, demanding choreographer Gastón (Gael García Bernal).

The couple is reeling from a crisis: they’ve just returned their adopted 12-year-old son Polo to child services, after the troubled boy set fire to their home. Ema and Gastón's agonising decision spins the marriage into chaos, but the guilt-ridden Ema refuses to let go, and sets out on a strange, secretive, and fearless quest to reunite her family.

Curator's note

Pablo Larraín's recent works (Spencer, 2021; Jackie, 2016) have zeroed in on the trauma and fury of his female protagonists, making him one of contemporary cinema’s most exciting directors. In Ema, the entire film hinges on newcomer Di Girolamo’s extraordinary titular performance: tender, volatile, physical and fully alive.

The vibrant dance world of the port city of Valparaíso in Chile comes alive as Ema and her glorious, carefree girl gang run riot through the streets to a soundtrack of fiery reggaeton beats and an immersive electronic score by Nicolás Jaar.

Ema's incendiary grief and diabolical scheming succeed in seducing everyone around her, but her methods will leave you reeling. "When you know what I am doing and why, you will be horrified." – don't say she didn't warn you.

Format: DCP
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Source: Palace Films
Courtesy: Palace Films
Runtime: 107 min

Event duration

107 mins



Strong sex scenes


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