Venice Film Review: Pablo Larraín’s ‘Ema’

If you’re looking to meet a shock-of-the-new, beyond-punk vanguard girl who’s so out there and alienated, and maybe liberated, that you’ve never quite seen the likes of her, you could do worse than spend 102 minutes in the company of Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo), the title viper of Pablo Larraín’s new film. Ema, with her stick earrings and nose ring, her slicked-back platinum mane and big-eyed insatiable blank stare that takes in everything and gives back nothing, is a dancer who lives in the Chilean port city of Valparaíso. When she’s doing her Reggaeton dance moves, punching the air as if she owned it, she’s like Lady Gaga in the great video for “Telephone.” But this is a Gaga who’s gangsta. After hours, she takes out a flamethrower and sets fire to cars, swing sets, traffic lights. She’s the mother of an adopted son,

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