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‘Roma’ Movie Review

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Alfonso Cuarón’s intention of Roma was to show and honor the slice of life heavily backed from his childhood in the Roma district of Mexico City, Mexico, circa early 1970s. We didn’t know what we were getting into. I certainly wasn’t ready for the emotional impact, the rawness of life from an impoverished perspective peeking wealth and constant selfishness. There is life, love, anger, nurture and sadness. It couldn’t have been more real, this film. Sometimes it takes the absence of one individual to really re-visualize who you are and what your life is going to be, especially if that person is a father leaving a family behind or a male who impregnates a woman and just bounces with no remorse whatsoever.

There is no escape and with that all you can do is to be the best you can be. Cuarón demonstrated his best in this film. The most personal and effective film in his career and you first see it in the first shot. You see what life looks like through a tile floor with background noise that sounds like city noise. You see nothing else until water starts flowing through the floor and with that a reflection is constructed and you see an airplane pass by. City life in one shot and to me it’s perfect. It is cinematography helping to tell a story and it stays consistent throughout the film. In that very same shot, we tilt up as water continuously flows and a woman is cleaning. We follow her, slowly. I loved the way the camera pans along her movement,  almost cautiously. It’s a balance that is used constantly, especially into next couple of shots. No score, no flashy lighting, just movement. It’s inspiring and admirable. There are a lot of long takes in this film, Cuarón decided to let the action go about. That’s a lot of trust and I think, love, a director can put and it’s not just one scene, it’s throughout the film. His decisions on how shots are framed and carried on through the take are brilliant. Almost every shot is beautiful and some would get me emotional because it looks so fucking simple but you know well that it isn’t. The actors give a lot to it. The actors are great handling movement with their dramatic skills. The scenes with the protests, the forest fire and beach, these characters show us reality. How the story portrays these characters would make your heart melt. We get to see all kinds of characters, some full of life and some who mute themselves to get by. It’s nice to see this type of racial and socioeconomic diversity. The culture is implemented in public scenes. You see people sell all kinds of things, wear all kinds of clothing whether it’s fashionable or not. You observe what people were watching and listening to at the time. It reminds us that it’s not just us here in this world and the situations we put ourselves through. There are those who simply have it harder and easier. We can’t hate. Cleo, who is the main character of this Mexican epic, shows us love through loss and nurture. Timid, alert and observant, Cleo is just your average girl who feels connected to the family she works for but you can see she wants more but doesn’t fight it. She doesn’t take command until she carries something of her own (if you can catch my drift). She goes through the trials of becoming a woman, growing up quickly in a span of a year or so and some of the scenes we see are very painful and very realistic in the skills of this wonderful actress. Life partially pummels her and she does what she can to align it to her liking, even if it’s a moment that makes her smile and that smile is a beautiful smile. Such as the scene where she is out of the city and she briefly talks about her small town that’s full of nature. She doesn’t exactly say it but describes the sights, sounds and smells and our eyes fill in the rest. It’s a well-written scene from Cuarón if you ask me. It is quite a sight to see. Although this film takes place in an autobiographical setting, it’s constructed very well, almost too good for the eye to believe and I must remind you again that his cinematography guides it.

I walk out of the theater feeling emotionally moved and pleased. I’m lucky to see a reconstruction of life. I see that women can be treated like shit for being who they are and carry out what they can in life. It’s a shame to see hate being used against one another. It’s crazy to see the division of class under the same nation. It puts me in a place where I appreciate LIFE around me through the people I’m very close with and along that is the respect you can give. Things may not go your way but love and support comes to the rescue much like how Cleo saved a family from total damnation of abandonment. Even with disconnection, life must move along. It’s all we got.



– Ray Salazar – BREALTV –

 

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