- 2 hr 15 min
Roma is a 2018 black and white drama film, written and directed by Alfonso CuarÃ³n. The film follows the life of Cleo, a young indigenous woman who works as a live-in maid for a middle-class family in Mexico City during the early 1970s. Despite coming from a humble background, Cleo is treated with kindness and respect by her employers, Sofia and Antonio, who are struggling with their own marital issues. Cleo forms a special bond with the family's four children, who affectionately call her "Yaya." The film is a semi-autobiographical representation of CuarÃ³n's childhood and the women who shaped his life. The name "Roma" refers to the neighborhood in Mexico City where CuarÃ³n grew up, and it highlights the importance of memory and personal history. The film is shot in a unique way, with long takes that capture the minutia of everyday life. The camera lingers on details like laundry hanging out to dry, water sloshing in a bucket, or a dog barking in the distance. The long shots add a sense of intimacy and presence to the film, as the viewer becomes immersed in Cleo's world. Despite the slow pace of the film, it is incredibly poignant and emotionally resonant. The narrative unfolds in a way that feels natural and effortless, as though we are simply following Cleo as she goes about her daily routine. The emphasis is on the small moments of connection between people, rather than big, melodramatic events. The film is deeply moving, without ever resorting to sentimentality. One of the most striking aspects of Roma is the way it addresses issues of class and identity. Cleo is an indigenous woman from a poor rural community, and she is constantly reminded of her place in Mexican society. She experiences discrimination and disrespect from those around her, even as she works hard to provide for her employers' family. Similarly, Sofia and Antonio, despite their relative wealth, are struggling to maintain their status in a changing political climate. The film gives a nuanced and complex portrayal of the ways in which social and political forces impact individuals' lives. The performances in Roma are outstanding, particularly those of Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. Aparicio, who had no prior acting experience, delivers a stunning performance as Cleo. She conveys a quiet strength and resilience, even in the face of great adversity. De Tavira is equally impressive as Sofia, imbuing her character with a sense of vulnerability and complexity. The supporting cast, including the child actors who play Sofia and Antonio's children, are also exceptional. The film's cinematography is also worth noting. CuarÃ³n worked with cinematographer Alfonso CuarÃ³n to create a stunning visual landscape. The black and white palette highlights the textures and contrasts of the film's many settings, from the waterlogged streets of Mexico City to the windswept beaches of Tuxpan. The camera work is unobtrusive, allowing the viewer to become fully absorbed in the film's world. Overall, Roma is a masterful film, a deeply humane and touching portrait of a woman and a family. It is a meditation on memory, history, and the enduring power of love and connection.