Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Written by: Alfonso Cuarón
Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón
Produced by: Nicolás Celis, Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Fernando Grediaga, Jorge Antonio Guerrero, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Carlos Peralta, Nancy Garcia, Diego Di Cort and Verónica Garcia.
The 75th Venice International Film Festival, Golden Lion winner
Based on the semi-autobiographical upbringing of writer and director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men (2006); Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2010); Gravity (2013) and Academy Award winner for Best Director (2014)) in Mexico during the 1970s, Roma speaks to the heart of life with perfect balance like a legacy left as a gift that we all get to share.
From the opening scene, Roma slows everything down with the flow and splash of water used for cleaning the concrete squares of a courtyard with the reflected image of an aeroplane flying overhead.
Here, we’re introduced to the family: wife, Sofia (Marina de Tavira) and husband Antonio (Fernando Grediaga) and the children, Paco (Carlos Peralta), Pepe (Marco Graf), Sofi (Daniela Demesa), grandma Teresa (Veronica Garcia) and the two nannies who serve them: Adela (Nancy Garcia Garcia) and Chloe (Yalitza Aparicio).
But really, the two young nannies are part of the family.
As is the ever-pooing on the courtyard squares, Borras the dog.
And the galaxy car that fits into the courtyard-come-garage by a mere centimetre each side…
I love the humour of the film, mounted heads of previous pet dogs included.
And the love and tragedy of the characters is perfectly captured in black and white moments so although a quiet film about life and family, I was mesmerised by a story shown by an observer with a particularly knowing eye; from the heart of a wise and old soul like young Pepe talking to Chloe about his past life as a pilot, ‘back when I was old’.
The film is just full of wonderful treats like the hills that look like they have skirts and the rubbing of vinegar on sunburnt shoulders so the children smell like salads.
We’re shown this deeply personal story of a family that manages to subtly open a door on the rarity of life captured that goes deeper than an emotional level. There something incredibly pure here as Chloe is shown with the love of a young boy who sees her soul so clearly.
Even with the tragedy of heart break, earthquakes and government seizing land, the Indigenous population living in slums, and fathers leaving their children, there’s an ever evolving resilience where keeping close helps get through all the scary; where scenes of baby bottles amongst the wine and ashtrays are a sign of the times and forest fires alight on New Year’s Eve: there’s always the slow drone of an aeroplane overhead.
Now that’s film making.
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