Looking at the career of Alfonso Cuaron, it is interesting to see his trajectory. He has done some personal films based in his homeland, a franchise blockbuster and two sci-fi films. The better film out of those two ended up being a box-office disappointment and that is disheartening. With Roma being a return to his roots and his first film since the Oscar winning Gravity, it is safe to say that this film comes with a lot of expectations. Though it is already on Netflix, I was one of the lucky few who got to see it on a big screen. And I am so thankful that I did. While Cuaron the director is in top form here, it is Cuaron the cinematographer that has pulled of something incredible. Two scenes in particular, one involving a hospital and one set in an ocean are quite simply breathtaking. It leaves one wondering how the hell did they shoot it. The black and white look of the film adds to its impact and transports us to Mexico in the 70s.
And that brings me to another wonder of the film, the protagonist played by Yalitza Aparicio. The relationship she has with the children in the film is so heart-warming. Some of the best parts of the film happen when the camera lingers on her face. Great acting doesn’t always have to be expressive. At times, just processing what’s happening can prove to be highly effective. This is one aspect of Aparicio’s acting that is brilliant and at no point does it feel like she’s someone making her debut. By keeping the camera at a distance, Cuaron allows us to soak in all that makes up the landscape. This surprisingly enhanced the connection that I had with the characters. We see the world that they live in, the beauty that is present in it, the problems that come with it and the connection that keeps them going. Those who find flaws in the film might say that the pace is too slow. But Roma isn’t worried about how fast it moves, it is a timeless story that is set in a specific place and time. Looking beyond the technical expertise, there is an emotional core that many can connect with. And when technique and emotion combine to produce art, what you get is Roma.
Until next time, bye.