RELEASED: 30th November 2018
DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón
CAST: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Fernando Grediaga, Jorge Antonio Guerrero, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Nancy García, Verónica García and José Manuel Guerrero Mendoza
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $1.1m
AWARDS: 3 Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Best Director and Best Cinematography), 2 Golden Globes (Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director) and 3 BAFTAs (Best Film, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography)
Set predominantly in the Colonia Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City, Roma focuses on Cleodegaria ‘Cleo’ Gutiérrez, a young live-in maid who works for a family in the middle-class neighbourhood. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s.
Roma was a big success story, not only for Netflix, but also for Alfonso Cuarón as he wrote and directed the film, which also happens to be semi-autobiographical of Alfonso’s childhood, based heavily on his real-life nanny Liboria “Libo” Rodriguez, who still remains part of the family and has even cameoed in several of his previous films. Cuarón also done his own cinematography and co-edited the film along with Adam Gough and Alfonso takes his time to breathe live into the neighbourhood in general, with sequences of Cleo running/walking down the several blocks of the area, picturesque frames that he captures from Cleo and Fermín sitting at a cinema, to Cleo looking to find Fermín at an outdoor martial-arts class, to even how the open lingers for the plane to fly overhead of the soaking-wet floor. The film has a personal story with a large scope, focusing on a family on the brink of being torn apart as the wife of the family, Sofia, and the husband, Antonio, are already in a strained relationship when we meet them, and learn that he leaves them for another woman. While this is going on, the large scope is that some political unrest lies in the city and this excels with a protest that ends in violent and tragic consequences. Yalitza Aparicio gives an authentic, kindly performance as Cleo, a woman who feels like she’s part of the family, though is often reminded of what her position is. Marina de Tavira also gives a really good performance as Sofía, the mother of the family. I liked the parallels between Cleo and Sofia, with one being left pregnant and abandoned by her lover, to Sofia’s crumbling marriage with her husband, showcasing the two having more in common than they think despite their class titles.
FAVOURITE SCENE: Cleo tells Fermín at the cinema that she could be pregnant, to which he eventually excuses himself to use the restroom never to return. The way this scene is framed and lingers on Cleo once Fermín leaves, it’s beautifully executed on a technical aspect.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “We are alone. No matter what they tell you, we women are always alone.” – Sofía
DID YOU KNOW: The lengthy delivery scene in the hospital was only shot once. The doctors and nurses were real, not actors, hired to make the scene feel more authentic.