Nightstream Review: Ema

In no particular order: intoxicating, boring, horny, punk rock, hilarious, horrifying, bewildering. 

Those are all of the adjectives that passed through my brain during the viewing of this delicious puzzle of a film.

Intoxicating: A visually stunning piece of filmmaking with a perfectly paced score weaving everything together.

Boring: I mean, I think? At times, I felt like I was bored but not in the “eh, I’m going to pick up my phone and see what’s on Twitter” sense. More like, you’re the witness of a car crash and you can’t leave because you’re on your fifth hour of waiting for the police to take your report. The car is just there burning with bodies inside in the middle of the highway but it’s been five hours, so it isn’t anything new anymore but you still can’t look away.

Horny: This is a very horny movie.

Punk Rock: Sure, when Ema is bored she goes out into the city with a flamethrower and just sets things on fire. That might seem punk rock, but really it’s the way she manipulates the relationships around her. She’s like if Lex Luthor was a nonmonogamist sex positive anarchist.

Hilarious: I can’t explain this without spoiling the movie.

Horrifying: At one point Ema tells Anibel “When you know what I’m doing, and why. You will be horrified.” It is for both Anibel and the audience. How can anyone be this way?

Bewildering: The film starts by saying it only wants you to marvel in its beauty while watching a heady modern dance routine. It seems to say “the cinematography is oh so pretty, who cares about plot. This is the movie.” But at some point, you won’t even know when it happens, the film closes the distance and pushes you up against the wall. You’re involved. It is intimate. You’re questioning the societal definition of motherhood and parenting. You have an opinion on reggaeton versus modern dance. 

You wonder if you should feel bad for laughing when that one moment arrives. 

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