“Ema” is the third collaboration between filmmaker Pablo Larraín and Gael García Bernal, but the latter is hoping for many more.
“This is our third film together and I love working with him and I love his films — it’s such a pleasure,” García Bernal told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at the Toronto International Film Festival. “Secretly, I am always waiting for that phone call that eventually comes. It’s a great excuse to spend time together, and I’m proud of all the films we make together. This one is fantastic — I really love the exploration, the experimentation that goes on in this film. It’s something that I don’t see in cinema and it’s difficult to talk about these things.”
Larraín calls the film a “melodrama that has elements of suspense,” as well as a story about family and the contemporary world. Newcomer Mariana di Girolamo plays Ema, a free-spirited reggaeton dancer living with her husband and artistic director Gaston (García Bernal) in the coastal city of Valparaíso. Together, the couple adopted a young Colombian boy some untold amount of time ago. But the boy was trouble, and troubled — he burned Ema’s sister and stuffed a cute dog into a freezer — so the uncertain parents gave the child back.
“The story begins in the world of adoptions and the process of adoptions, [and] sometimes the process is very complicated and some of them, unfortunately, they’re called failed adoptions and doesn’t go well. That was the starting point,” Larraín explained. “It’s the first movie I’ve made in the contemporary day, so it was a challenge to go through that.”
“When I saw the film, I was just completely hypnotized and sucked into the movie and it’s just so powerful,” Santiago Cabrera added. “So it’s great to be a part of it.”
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