- Title: Woman on fire: Larrain's "Ema" tells tale of liberation
- Date: 31st August 2019
- Summary: VENICE, ITALY (AUGUST 31, 2019) (REUTERS) ACTORS GAEL GARCIA BERNAL AND MARIANA DI GIROLAMO AND DIRECTOR PABLO LARRAIN ARRIVING ON RED CARPET FROM CAR DI GIROLAMO, GARCIA BERNAL AND LARRAIN WALKING ONTO RED CARPET
- Embargoed: 14th September 2019 18:35
- Keywords: Ema movie Venice Film Festival Pablo Larrain Gael Garcia Bernal Mariana di Girolamo
- Location: VENICE, ITALY / VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- City: VENICE, ITALY / VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Film
- Reuters ID: LVA002AUJSJER
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: To the thumping beat of reggaeton, Chilean television actress Mariana Di Girolamo dances her way through Pablo Larrain's "Ema", her major big screen debut about a woman on a journey of self-discovery as her family life falls apart.
Set in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso, Di Girolama and Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal play married couple Ema and Gaston, a dancer and choreographer in an experimental dance troupe.
After their adopted son Polo is involved in a fire incident that injures Ema's sister, the couple give the child back, a decision that heavily impacts them personally and their marriage.
A regretful Ema tries to find ways to get Polo back, while at the same time liberating herself from her domineering husband. Viewers also see her destructive side as she goes about town setting fire to traffic lights, cars and playgrounds with a flamethrower.
"A key theme is family, the new families, the new order, the families of our times that are different, same-sex families or multi-parent families," Di Girolamo told Reuters in an interview.
"It reflects on what is happening today. As a symbolic element, fire is important in the film, as an element of destruction and creation, it also reflects who Ema is."
Garcia Bernal, known for "The Motorcycle Diaries" and "Mozart in the Jungle", said the movie also touches on "the crisis of masculinity".
"I think it reflects a lot on sign of the times, I mean that old certainties are gone in a way and the only certainty we know is that the future the way it is, the way we have been following it, is not a good future, it's a very dystopian future and we need to act and we need to change things," he said.
The film is one of 21 competing for the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival, which runs until September 7.
"I'm a little nervous and very grateful and expectant, I want to enjoy every moment," Di Girolamo said of her first Venice experience.
"It's also my first time in a leading role in a movie. I come from the world of television series, soap operas in Chile. I've had some smaller roles in films. So this is like my grand debut which is a bit strange."
The film is Santiago-born Larrain's first since 2016's "Jackie" about Jacqueline Kennedy after her husband's assassination.
At a news conference, he described Ema as "a sister, a friend, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a wife and a dancer. She is the sun and everyone circulates around the sun ... and if you get too close you might get burnt."
Larrain said he also wanted to shine a light on failed adoptions.
"The reality of failed adoptions is very huge and it's a trauma and a drama that we wanted to address in the way that the movie shows it," he said.
(Production: Christian Levaux, Hanna Rantala)
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