Not many well-known artists go back to their past to produce a piece of work and show it to their compatriots and the world, incidentally revealing new and valuable insights on their country.
“Roma”, the new feature film by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, is a good example of that. The film was released almost simultaneously, in movie theaters and on a movie subscription platform.
"Rome" is an autobiographical piece; it portrays scenes from the author's childhood. It´s about an indigenous woman who raised him.
Cuarón tells the intimate story of Cleo, a Mixtec maid who works for a middle-class family in the Roma neighborhood in Mexico City in the 1970s. We follow Cleo in her long, tireless, hard work, day after day, from dawn to night, her sorrows and her happy moments.
“Roma” is a great movie. It is not the usual Hollywood production. A black-and-white film, in Spanish and Mixtec, with a gentle rhythm, featuring domestic and urban scenes that slowly dive into Cleo´s intimacy and daily life. Without intending to, Cuarón makes us remember that deep intimacy comes when we have time to live it.
Cuarón is known for films as different as "Y tu mamá también", "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", the brilliant "Children of Men" and science fiction thriller film "Gravity", starred by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
This time, the Mexican director decided to show his own vision to Mexicans and to the world In recent statements, he talked about his intention “to explore part of the mosaic that Mexicans are, but above all, this perverse relationship that exists in our country between class and race". Without forgetting that the violence situation in his country shows that "it is time to turn to the internal pride" of Mexicans.
Cuarón shows that there was -and there is- a different México, that of everyday lives, based on a series of doings and undoings, away from “narcos”, murders and massacres, without daily kidnappings. It reveals, then, a México rich in emotions, with a strong and deep family ties, wrapped in countless social injustices.
Cuarón could have made another film in the United States or in Europe, but preferred to go back and rely on his own reputation to impose a Mexican vision on México and not just leave that space for Hollywood -for others- to define his compatriots as corrupt, killers, cruel, treacherous and lazy people.
"Roma" is then a lesson for us on the possibility of artists to bring to the stage new national visions, new ways of thinking, emotions and even feelings that may have been left behind in time or buried under the daily noise of a violent and, at times, overwhelming reality.
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