A friend once said that Roma was “slow” so I cut them out of my life
Release date: November 21, 2018
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Language: Spanish, Mixtec
Who should watch this movie: People who’ve read 100 years of solitude. Fans of Ozu’s movies.
When should you watch this movie: When you miss your family. When you miss the way things were.
The sell: Roma is a triumph of filmmaking. Sometimes movies are just movies, and sometimes they are truly works of art. Roma is the latter. It’s clear that Roma came from a deeply personal place in Cuarón’s heart, and that sense of intimacy permeates the entire feature. The audience’s perspective is not that of a spectator but rather a silent, invisible member of the family; privy to the most private moments in the character’s lives. It is a perspective shared by the main character, Cleo (played by Yalitza Aparicio), the live-in maid and caretaker of the wealthy family. It is with ambivalence that we watch Cleo travel between worlds, from that of her affluent employers to the impoverished residence of her boyfriend Fermin – who we see training with Los Halcones. We also see Cleo switch between Mixtec – spoken with her friends and family – and Spanish – Spoken with her employers. The relationship between Cleo and the family she lives with is not uncomplicated. In particular, Cleo’s connection with the children in her care is imbued with deep love and affection, despite the transactional nature of their relationship. Roma is a hyper-realistic portrayal of a life in which pain and joy exist in the blurred space between social classes. Shot in black and white, Cuarón’s direction is thrown into sharp relief and demonstrates a mastery of craft that is nothing short of awe-inspiring.