Thursday, January 7, 2021

Torching the Traditional Motherhood

Ema (2019) - Larrain Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 6.29.03 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 10.34.22 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 6.48.15 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 6.53.25 AMScreen Shot 2021-01-06 at 9.21.43 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 9.57.58 AM
Ema (Mariana Di Girólamo) is in any way a mom material. She is first seen torching the traffic signal in the middle of the night in the Chilean city of Valparaiso with her flame thrower. This sleek platinum blonde beauty is a dancer in a group who dances street dance known as Reggaeton. She is in divorce proceedings from Gaston (Gael Gacia Bernal), a choreographer of the group, 12 year her senior and a foreigner. She also maintains numerous amorous relations within her team, mostly comprised of female persuasion. 

Ema-Gaston backstory is that Gaston can't conceive a child. So they adopted 12 year old Colombian boy. But when things got tough and the boy tried to burn down the house and half of Ema's sister's face (got that tendency from mom obv), they gave up the boy and sent him back to the system. The rest of the movie is Ema trying to get the boy back by manipulating her way into the boy's new adopted parents' lives.

It's fun, horny movie that torches the traditional notion of motherhood into oblivion. 

Last October, Chile overwhelmingly voted (78 percent!) to rewrite their constitution which was written in the military dictatorial years of Pinochet which was supported by American government of course. Argentina just voted to legalize abortion. Seeing yesterday's shenanigans at our nation's capitol where Trumpers stormed the halls of our House chambers and reading the reactions to it online, one thing that struck me is that we as a society failed miserably for our next generation. No one under 40 will ever trust our government ever again to do anything right.  In this context, Ema is as much of a rebuke of the old generation than anything else. Who are we to judge what's amoral or what is a right thing to do? Burn the shit down!

Energetic with fuck-all attitude, Ema is a new breed of filmmaking that signals the arrival of the next generation who are more empowered and care-free, as if saying "whether we like it or not, the future is ours." I tend to agree.

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