Pablo Larrain’s last directorial outing was “Jackie,” a cerebral portrait of grief with horror elements. Also, much like “No” and “Neruda,” the critically-acclaimed film was a biopic. With his latest feature “Ema,” Larrain is breaking from stories about real-life people to tell a fictional family drama. However, he’s reuniting with his frequent collaborator, Gael Garcia Bernal.
In “Ema,” Garcia Bernal plays Gaston, a choreographer who, along with his wife Ema (Mariana di Girolamo), is dealing with a family incident. Meanwhile, Ema feels her own personal turmoil. As Ema takes part in Gaston’s dance troupe, she attempts to follow her heart and perform a new dance style.
Here’s the official synopsis from the Venice Film Festival:
Ema, a young dancer, decides to separate from Gastón after giving back Polo, the son they both adopted and were unable to raise. In a desperate search through the streets of the port city of Valparaíso, Ema seeks love affairs in order to overcome her guilt. However, she has a secret plan to recover everything she’s lost.
Garcia Bernal has had a busy festival run. Along with “Ema,” he stars in “Wasp Network,” Olivier Assayas’ new political thriller. “Wasp Network” is making its way to both the Toronto and Venice Film Festival. In addition, his latest directorial effort “Chicuarotes” is also premiering at Toronto.
With all that said about Garcia Bernal, Mariana di Girolamo is a name to look out for. Larrain and Garcia Bernal are the biggest names, but, di Girolamo plays the title character. Even if Oscar love doesn’t befall her, this project should still put her on people’s radars.
If the film is Chile’s selection, it could compete at the Oscars for Best International Feature Film (previously called Best Foreign Language Film). Chile previously won for “A Fantastic Woman” and the star power of Larrain and Garcia Bernal could be enough to propel its chances.
“Ema” will premiere at the Venice Film Festival.