Roma is a masterpiece. It is a work of such profound, emotive beauty that you have to stop and take stock of what you have just experienced. Deeply personal, intimate in its focus but epic in its scope, with a canvas that seems to take in all of Mexican culture at the same time.
The film focuses on a middle-class family in
Based on director Alfonso Cuarón's childhood, Roma is the marriage of a personal story and a technical craftsmanship. Cuarón, who is probably most recognisable to audiences for his exhaustingly long takes in the like of Gravity and Children of Men, has produced what is likely his best film. It certainly feels his most intimate, aided by touches of neo-realism, particularly in an exceptional cast. Yalitza Aparicio (making her debut) and Marina de Tavira are the standouts, but there isn't a weak link in a cast that carries the film's emotional weight.
But this film belongs to Cuarón who not only directs but also writes and shoots, take on the role of cinematographer. This is only the director's third film in twelve years and you leave craving his next work. Funnily enough, with its classy black and white cinematography and narrative that looks back in a creator's life for inspiration, the film this closest resembles is Cold War. The two would make an exceptional double.
It is worth noting that this is a Netflix film, funded and distributed by the streaming giant. It is fascinating to see the film through this prism, as if the company are saying 'We Make Good Films'. This is certain to exasperate the existential threat the wider industry feels for Netflix films, with Roma originally due to premiere at
This is a film you have to see, ideally in cinemas during what is certain to be a limited run. It is a beautiful masterstroke, one that reaffirms why Alfonso Cuarón is such an invigorating talent. Simply put, this is a masterpiece.
This is a London Film Festival preview and Roma will be released on the 29th November 2018.