Roma (2018)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.  

Mexico/USA, 2018.  Esperanto Filmoj, Participant Media.  Screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón.  Cinematography by Alfonso Cuarón.  Produced by Nicolás Celis, Alfonso Cuarón, Gabriela Rodriguez.  Production Design by Eugenio CaballeroCostume Design by Anna Terrazas.  Film Editing by Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Gough

Alfonso Cuaron follows his fascinating voyage into outer space with one much closer to home, a semi-autobiographical recreation of his childhood whose focus is the young woman (Yalitza Aparicio) who works as a maid to the family of a bourgeois doctor.  The dramatic tragedy of the couple’s marriage falling apart and its effect on their four children is expertly contrasted with Aparicio’s woes, treated with affection by her employers who also never forget that she is there to serve, keeping her eye on her duties while suffering her own personal relationship devastation.  The spaces in which the drama plays out are as fascinating as the characters who inhabit them, from the grand family home to the country estate where they spend a holiday, or the barren landscape of the young woman’s village, while a number of magnificent sequences take place on crowded streets or busy furniture stores touched with a sense of dark magic that is emphasized by the rich monochrome photography.  The main character is the central embodiment of it all, her stoic facial expressions almost a part of the architecture of the home that she is the emotional centre of, while the family’s being so intimate with her while never really knowing her personally is devastating thanks to Cuaron’s intelligently subtle manner of keeping a faint diving line between master and servant at even the most generous moments.  Every bit of this film is touched with enchantment, but it’s a spell that breaks your heart.

The Criterion Collection:  #1014

Academy Awards:  Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron); Best Cinematography; Best Foreign-Language Film
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actress (Yalitza Aparicio); Best Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira); Best Original Screenplay; Best Production Design; Best Sound Mixing; Best Sound Editing

Golden Globe Awards Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron); Best Foreign-Language Film
Nomination: Best Screenplay

Toronto International Film Festival:  2018

Venice Film Festival Award:  Golden Lion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s