Release year: 2018
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Screenwriter: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Nancy García García, Jorge Antonio Guerrero
Ratings: 10 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actress (Yalitza Aparicio), Best Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira), Best Production Design, Best orginal Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing. 2 Golden Globes: Best Director, Best Foreign Language Picture. 1 Golden Globe nomination: Best Screenplay.
Over a year we follow Cleo (Aparicio), a maid in a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City.
Mecican director Cuarón (Gravity, 2013) has revealed that about 90% of the movie is based on his own childhood memories with leading character Cleo being based on his beloved childhood maid, whom the picture also is dedicated too. This could have made the movie far too sentimental for its own good, but in the capable hands of Cuarón it is instead kept sober. Despite some strong emotional scenes, the tone is more nostalgic than sentimental, and the movie comes of as a strong love letter to a time, a place and a person. We follow both the ups and downs of Cleo but a big part of the movie shows every day scenes, which adds realism, as everyday life is the biggest part of most lives, unfortunately it also makes the film drag a bit in the first half. The acting is strong with especially newcomer Aparicio, who, believe it or not, has never acted before, impressing. Her performance is timid and underplayed, much like the woman she is portraying. Cleo looks fragile but proves strong and is a character you can’t help falling for. However, one of the strongest assets of the movie is the cinematography. Shot entirely in black and white, there is not a frame which doesn’t look stunning and it is especially here the movie becomes a love letter, you would only make something you feel for look this good. Roma is a movie focusing on storytelling through visuals, which is pretty much what movies is about, and though the story is dragging a bit this is still bound to be considered a masterpiece and rightfully so.
Alfonso Cuarón was the only person on set to know the entire script and the direction of the film. Each day, before filming, the director would hand the lines to his cast, attempting to elicit real emotion and shock from his actors. Each actor would also receive contradictory directions and explanations, which meant that there was chaos on set every day. For Cuarón, “that’s exactly what life is like: it’s chaotic and you can’t really plan how you’ll react to a given situation.”
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