Roma, by Alfonso Cuaron. I just finished. A masterpiece. The best movie of the year (2018). Maybe of the decade. And in black and white, better than color. In Spanish (with a lot of Oaxacan as well). Cuaron’s story of growing up in a tony area of Mexico City, the Roma neighborhood in 1970. It follows Cleo, the maid as the family, the city, her friends and the times swirl around her in a dizzying rhythm. The noise, the world, all impinge on her quiet soul. And the actress. The only word I can think of is beatific.

I am 6 years older than Cuaron. My family traveled in Mexico the summer of 67, just 3 years before this movie was set, so I was the age of the oldest brother in this film. There were 4 kids in the family, much like mine. I remember vividly visiting my mother’s friend and her family in Cuernavaca. A similar situation. All of those details resonated with me. Cuaron, as a kid, was a superlative observer.

The detail in the movie is astounding. Watching dozens of art-house flicks when I was in Barcelona helped me understand the graphic language of black and white movies, the subtle connections beween worlds. The airplane, the dog shit, the car, the “poza” (pond) and the water, and a half dozen other things. It had me on the edge of my seat through all 2 and a quarter hours, even though it was a relatively normal family for that time. 

Roger Ebert’s website gives it 4/4 stars.

With some of the most striking imagery of the year, “Roma” often blends the surreal and the relatable into one memorable image.

Read Kristopher Tapley in Variety getting the backstory from Cuaron.

Wow. I will have to watch this one again. A work of art. 

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