Printer-friendly copy Email this topic to a friend
Lobby Pass The Popcorn topic #730796

Subject: "Roma (Alfonso fucking Cuaron, 2018)" Previous topic | Next topic
bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
7687 posts
Wed Jul-25-18 09:47 AM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
"Roma (Alfonso fucking Cuaron, 2018)"


  

          

https://twitter.com/alfonsocuaron/status/1022121194126958592

I heard the sound design for this film is next level. Even though it's gonna drop on Netflix, I'm gonna find a theatre that's showing this.

Even though it's a simple story of a family in 1970s Mexico, I was told he's still pushing cinematic boundaries.

Da Gawd is back!!!

------------------------------------------
"America's favorite past time is white supremacy.
Never seen a nigga granted clemency" - Ras Kass
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RZZOlpqC_A

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top


Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
This is the last trailer I'll watch.
Aug 16th 2018
1
Cuaron and Chivo Lubezki back together...yeah im seeing this in theates
Aug 17th 2018
2
Very good
Oct 05th 2018
3
an absolute gem, top-notch acting and filmed like a dream
Nov 11th 2018
4
Agree on all counts. I saw it at a film Festival and it is beautifully s...
Nov 12th 2018
5
what a beautiful film
Dec 18th 2018
6
a big ass MEH..some inspiring moments/shots but this was a pretentious
Dec 24th 2018
7
A near perfect film about a take it or leave it movie
Dec 25th 2018
8
Yooo, how did he make this movie for 15M?
Feb 11th 2019
15
I jumped ship 'bout an hour in
Dec 26th 2018
9
i jumped ship after 10 mins
Jan 09th 2019
11
      some sad stuff and lots of dog poop
Jan 09th 2019
12
una pelicula muy aburrida
Jan 08th 2019
10
fucking beautiful
Jan 27th 2019
13
Best flick i saw last year
Feb 04th 2019
14
engrossing
Feb 25th 2019
16
i enjoyed it
Feb 26th 2019
17
Felt more interested in cinematography than character.
Feb 26th 2019
18
RE: Felt more interested in cinematography than character.
Feb 26th 2019
19
I'll quote the New Yorker piece on Roma.
Feb 27th 2019
21
You're right about Cleo....
Feb 26th 2019
20
      I completely agree.
Feb 27th 2019
22

bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
7687 posts
Thu Aug-16-18 08:30 AM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
1. "This is the last trailer I'll watch."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

https://youtu.be/fp_i7cnOgbQ

Guess we'll find out in a few weeks just how good this is.

------------------------------------------
"America's favorite past time is white supremacy.
Never seen a nigga granted clemency" - Ras Kass
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RZZOlpqC_A

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

dgonsh
Member since Aug 14th 2002
10611 posts
Fri Aug-17-18 05:37 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy listClick to send message via AOL IM
2. "Cuaron and Chivo Lubezki back together...yeah im seeing this in theates"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

********************************************************************




"I *always* quote myself. I'm the only reliable source on *most* subjects" - OKP's First Lady of Knowledge, Janey

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
7687 posts
Fri Oct-05-18 12:28 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
3. "Very good"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

You gotta just go with it. Once you get into the film's groove you ride with it till the gutpunch of the last 20 minutes.

This should be called Men Ain't Shit.

Absolutely see this in a theater especially one equipped with Dolby Atmos.

If this doesn't win Best Sound Design and Best Sound Mixing, then cancel the fucking Oscars b.

------------------------------------------
"America's favorite past time is white supremacy.
Never seen a nigga granted clemency" - Ras Kass
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RZZOlpqC_A

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

benny
Member since Jan 15th 2003
7374 posts
Sun Nov-11-18 10:28 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy listClick to send message via AOL IM
4. "an absolute gem, top-notch acting and filmed like a dream"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

the personal is present in every single frame, with details that make it lived-in and heartfelt from start to finish. I thought this was gonna be a -potentially boring- Ozu-style home drama, but Cuaron contextualizes it with current events and crucially lets the movie breathe outside at every opportunity (unlike the damn pooping dog lol). Definitely deserves to be seen on a big screen with a properly calibrated sound stage, kind of a damn shame what Netflix is doing with the release tbh.

------------------------------
For the record, my teams:
MLB: Mets / Soccer: PSG
NCAA BB: Arizona / NCAA FB: Michigan
NBA: Spurs / NFL: Jets
===
"Si la meuf est bien physiquement, je ne refuserai pas grand chose"

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
Cornbread
Member since Jul 21st 2006
1094 posts
Mon Nov-12-18 10:58 AM

Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
5. "Agree on all counts. I saw it at a film Festival and it is beautifully s..."
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

It is a shame that most people will not get to see it on a big screen with a great sound system. Hopefully, it will get a regular release at some point.

*America's Favorite*

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

walihorse
Member since Aug 03rd 2006
15499 posts
Tue Dec-18-18 12:53 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
6. "what a beautiful film"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

the cinematography was insane, i was blown away from it. The story was fantastic, I really enjoyed it.

Being from Nicaragua and seeing maids just like that was interesting.

縄f a fat guy falls in the woods and there is no one around to see it, do the trees laugh?

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Hellyeah
Member since Jul 05th 2008
6290 posts
Mon Dec-24-18 04:40 AM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
7. "a big ass MEH..some inspiring moments/shots but this was a pretentious"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon Dec-24-18 05:08 AM by Hellyeah

  

          

empty mess and overall a huge waste of time

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Nodima
Member since Jul 30th 2008
13808 posts
Tue Dec-25-18 02:33 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy listClick to send message via AOL IM
8. "A near perfect film about a take it or leave it movie"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue Dec-25-18 02:36 PM by Nodima

  

          

The plot isn't much. At its best, the story of Cleo and her pseudo-godmother relationship with the family that employs her is an excuse for some hypnotically intricate panoramas of moments both minute and vast. At its worst, the film's decision to highlight a single character distracts from Cuar贸n's hyper-focused understanding of what he wants to show here. Arguably, the plot's greatest sin is that it feels compelled to be a plot at all. What good is a final dilemma broadcast ahead of time by the film's dialogue (underscored, necessarily, by the subtitles) when you've got not-handsome Javiar Bardem (Jos茅 Manuel Guerrero Mendoza) laconically singing Jaliscan punk rock in period appropriate boy shorts?

And that's just an image that doesn't spoil anything. Perhaps the most paradoxical thing about this movie's plot problem is that without its big reveal, we don't get some of the film's most clever shots nor any of the reminders that this movie isn't just directed by a confident man but Alfonso-fucking-Cuar贸n. I understand why some might become bored by his repetitive use of the pan shot, but I found its prominence the pathway into what's best about this movie. When it feels more like a deeply felt memory of a place, when its characters feel small - just a part of the hundreds of extras and dense, vibrant set design rather than our main focus - Roma becomes this much bigger, intense thing. The culmination of the film's two most emotional plot points are both defined by the camera's understanding of those moments rather than the characters' reactions to them and Cuar贸n manages to make that feel correct rather than masturbatory.

My favorite bit in this movie is definitely the number of micro-oners that showcase the control Cuar贸n exhibits over his productions, previously best exemplified by the two scenes everyone still points to Children of Men for. I'd argue Atonement stole Cuaron's nothing-and-everything crown, but Roma is an aggressive grasp at the trophy that doesn't offer one single shot but rather a compilation of wonderfully natural shots of people being in spaces. Whether its a hospital or a run down town on the verge of revolution, Cuar贸n's camera lingers in such a way that one almost feels like they've set the controller down on an open world video game and are simply observing the programmers' creativities play out.

So, yes, when the script plays things a bit safe it's easy to let yourself feel disappointed. Particularly for non-Spanish speaking viewers, having the subtitles telegraph certain elements of the screenplay that might otherwise feel more organic were the script left offscreen is an unavoidable trouble. But looking at the bigger picture, I think these distractions are just a thing one always needs to accept going into foreign films, particularly Mexican dramas, and that once you allow Cuar贸n his tropes you'll be appropriately open to his camera, Roma's true leading actor. Is it the best movie of 2018? I'm not sure. The best picture(s)? I have little doubt.


~~~~~~~~~
"This is the streets, and I am the trap." 锟 Jay Bilas
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/archive/contributor/517
Hip Hop Handbook: http://tinyurl.com/ll4kzz

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
Buddy_Gilapagos
Charter member
43423 posts
Mon Feb-11-19 10:47 AM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
15. "Yooo, how did he make this movie for 15M?"
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

I was watching the scene of Cleo wandering down the street with all the period cars and background actors and was like, Netflix is bugging to give 100M to dude for these artsy shots that do little to move story along (but are so f'ing gorgeous).

Same with the riot.

Beautiful film. A welcome break from all the ADD stuff out here today.



**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Options
Member since Nov 19th 2009
808 posts
Wed Dec-26-18 06:09 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
9. "I jumped ship 'bout an hour in"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I'm usually a fan of slow-moving artsy movies like this, but you gotta give me *something* to hold on to.

I appreciated the cinematography and scene composition 鈥 it's a very beautiful film, indeed 鈥 but I just didn't care about the characters enough to put up with the glacial pace. shortly after the butt-naked martial arts routine, I was out. (and with the introduction of that character, I was fully aware the "real" story was probably about to get started, but I was already checked out at that point)

...
http://opsfromchi.bandcamp.com

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
Crash Bandacoot
Member since May 13th 2003
9243 posts
Wed Jan-09-19 03:14 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
11. "i jumped ship after 10 mins"
In response to Reply # 9


          

hopefully i didn't miss anything

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
makaveli
Charter member
14653 posts
Wed Jan-09-19 07:16 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
12. "some sad stuff and lots of dog poop"
In response to Reply # 11


  

          

鈥淪o back we go to these questions 鈥 friendship, character鈥 ethics.鈥

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

makaveli
Charter member
14653 posts
Tue Jan-08-19 10:36 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
10. "una pelicula muy aburrida"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

鈥淪o back we go to these questions 鈥 friendship, character鈥 ethics.鈥

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Mynoriti
Charter member
33626 posts
Sun Jan-27-19 04:24 AM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
13. "fucking beautiful "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

the photography, backgrounds, and attention to every detail were mesmerizing and worth it alone for me just for that... but I was engaged and invested from the jump.

--------
http://ambitiondeficitdisorder.tumblr.com/

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

thegodcam
Member since Oct 22nd 2004
40937 posts
Mon Feb-04-19 06:04 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy listClick to send message via AOL IM
14. "Best flick i saw last year"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

has a movie ever won both best picture and best foreign language film oscars?

if not, this could be it

*******************************************************
i will not let finite disappointment undermine infinite hope
- Cory Booker

Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes, and at the end the Germans always win
- Gary Lineker

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

will_5198
Charter member
60155 posts
Mon Feb-25-19 09:01 PM

Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
16. "engrossing"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon Feb-25-19 09:01 PM by will_5198

  

          

an interlude or two I wasn't crazy about (mostly the family trip for Christmas, which still had redeeming moments) but otherwise a beautiful film. performances were understated and authentic; the kids especially were just fantastic -- unspoken reactions being their best work.

liked it the first time, loved it the second time after knowing how it would all come together (little touches like the water in the intro mimicking ocean waves at the end).

--------

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

mista k5
Member since Feb 01st 2006
9191 posts
Tue Feb-26-19 10:12 AM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy listClick to send message via AOL IM
17. "i enjoyed it"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

i dont know how much trouble i would have if i didnt speak spanish. my complaint is that it is too long yet some parts of the movie seemed rush. mostly the end at the beach, seemed forced.

sofias driving cracked me up.

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
82370 posts
Tue Feb-26-19 02:56 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
18. "Felt more interested in cinematography than character."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I had problems with the cypher main character.
I had problems with Cuaron rarely ever focusing on us getting to know Cleo, except when it's time for her to suffer.
I had problems with the ending.
Then, because I had problems with the ending, I had problems with the use of the massacre and the political climate in the background.

I had a lot of problems with this movie.

I'm happy to dive deeper with people if they want, but yeah, swing and a miss for me. I'm glad Cuaron is getting money to make strange personal films that are way off the beaten path of what people are making today, but this one just didn't work for me. Other than the fact that it's very pretty... but then again, I had problems with Cuaron seeming to spend way more time on those carefully choreographed shots than on, y'know, scenes about Cleo and her relationships with the family members.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
will_5198
Charter member
60155 posts
Tue Feb-26-19 08:19 PM

Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
19. "RE: Felt more interested in cinematography than character."
In response to Reply # 18


  

          

>I had problems with Cuaron rarely ever focusing on us getting
>to know Cleo, except when it's time for her to suffer.

what did you feel was lacking about her characterization?

>I had problems with the ending.

what part exactly?

--------

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
82370 posts
Wed Feb-27-19 01:11 AM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
21. "I'll quote the New Yorker piece on Roma. "
In response to Reply # 19
Wed Feb-27-19 01:12 AM by Frank Longo

  

          

>what did you feel was lacking about her characterization?
>
>>I had problems with the ending.
>
>what part exactly?

After reading some criticism on the movie, I felt much of this piece mirrored my own feelings re: her characterization and many of Cuaron's choices. Re: the ending, it felt unearned to me for many of the same reasons mentioned in this piece.

Not that I necessarily ride with *everything* Brody says here... but his beefs about the character of Cleo and how Cuaron tends to direct his focus? I more or less agree with those.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-front-row/theres-a-voice-missing-in-alfonso-cuarons-roma

Even noteworthy filmmakers may not see what they鈥檙e doing. They can reveal crucial aspects of their work inadvertently, bringing to light the cinematic unconscious, hinting at what a movie could and should have been. That鈥檚 what Alfonso Cuar贸n, the writer and director of 鈥淩oma,鈥 did in an interview for a recent magazine article. Set in Mexico City in 1970-71, 鈥淩oma鈥 depicts a family much like the one in which he was raised and is centered on a domestic worker, both maid and nanny, named Cleo Guti茅rrez (Yalitza Aparicio); the character, Cuar贸n has said, is based on a woman named Libo Rodr铆guez, who played a similar role in his childhood (and to whom the movie is dedicated).

In the article, the journalist Kristopher Tapley conveys the substance of Cuar贸n鈥檚 inspiration for 鈥淩oma鈥: 鈥淩odr铆guez would talk to Cuar贸n about her hardships as a girl, about feeling cold or hungry. But as a little boy, he would look at those stories almost like adventures. She would tell him about her father, who used to play an ancient Mesoamerican ballgame that鈥檚 almost lost to the ages now, or about witch doctors who would try to cure people in her village. To him it was all very exciting.鈥

Watching 鈥淩oma,鈥 one awaits such illuminating details about Cleo鈥檚 life outside of her employer鈥檚 family, and such a generously forthcoming and personal relationship between Cleo and the children in her care. There鈥檚 nothing of this sort in the movie; Cleo hardly speaks more than a sentence or two at a time and says nothing at all about life in her village, her childhood, her family. She鈥檚 a loving and caring young woman, and the warmth of her feelings for the family she works for鈥攁nd theirs for her鈥攊s apparent throughout. But Cleo remains a cipher; her interests and experiences鈥攈er inner life鈥攔emain inaccessible to Cuar贸n. He not only fails to imagine who the character of Cleo is but fails to include the specifics of who Libo was for him when he was a child.

In the process, he turns the character of Cleo into a stereotype that鈥檚 all too common in movies made by upper-middle-class and intellectual filmmakers about working people: a strong, silent, long-enduring, and all-tolerating type, deprived of discourse, a silent angel whose inability or unwillingness to express herself is held up as a mark of her stoic virtue. (It鈥檚 endemic to the cinema and even leaves its scars on better movies than 鈥淩oma,鈥 including some others from this year, such as 鈥淟eave No Trace鈥 and 鈥淭he Rider.鈥) The silent nobility of the working poor takes its place in a demagogic circle of virtue sharing that links filmmakers (who, if they offer working people a chance to speak, do so only in order to look askance at them, as happens in 鈥淩oma鈥 with one talkative but villainous poor man) with their art-house audiences, who are similarly pleased to share in the exaltation of heroes who do manual labor without having to look closely or deeply at elements of their heroes鈥 lives that don鈥檛 elicit either praise or pity.

That effacement of Cleo鈥檚 character, her reduction to a bland and blank trope that burnishes the director鈥檚 conscience while smothering her consciousness and his own, is the essential and crucial failure of 鈥淩oma.鈥 It sets the tone for the movie鈥檚 aesthetic and hollows it out, reducing Cuar贸n鈥檚 worthwhile intentions and evident passions to vain gestures.

鈥淩oma鈥 is the story of a family in Mexico City鈥檚 Colonia Roma neighborhood (where Cuar贸n grew up): father, Antonio (Fernando Grediaga), a doctor; mother, Sof铆a (Marina de Tavira), a biochemist who is running the household and not working; grandmother, Teresa (Ver贸nica Garc铆a), who is Sof铆a's mother; and four children (a girl and three boys), ranging, seemingly, from about six to about twelve. And then there鈥檚 the household staff, Cleo and Adela (Nancy Garc铆a Garc铆a); there鈥檚 also a man who drives the family car, but he is utterly uncharacterized.

The youngest child, Pepe (Marco Graf), an imaginative boy who talks about being a pilot, seems to be the Cuar贸n stand-in, though the movie isn鈥檛 dramatized from his point of view. (I鈥檒l avoid disclosing some major plot developments.) The family is solidly upper middle class; they live in a house separated from the city street by a gate and divided from neighboring houses by an alley, in which they park their cars (and in which the family dog, Borras, runs loose and defecates). Antonio, who claims to be heading to Quebec for a temporary research project, actually remains in Mexico City, simply having left his wife and family in order to live with another woman.

Meanwhile, Cleo, quiet and patient, has her own romantic dreams: she鈥檚 dating Ferm铆n (Jorge Antonio Guerrero), a cousin of Adela鈥檚 boyfriend, Ram贸n, and becomes pregnant. The family sympathizes with her; Cleo continues to work for them and receives good medical care, thanks to the family鈥檚 connection to a major urban hospital. But trouble ensues when Cleo goes on a shopping trip with Teresa, during a day of student protests; they know that such protests have been violently repressed, but this time the violence is worse than before, and Cleo and Teresa observe it up close. (Cuar贸n is dramatizing an actual historic crisis, the Corpus Christi Massacre, of 1971, in which soldiers and paramilitaries gunned down student protesters in the streets of Mexico City and pursued them into their hiding places and refuges, including hospitals.

Cuar贸n expands the story with copious, carefully observed鈥攔ather, carefully constructed and planted鈥攄etails that, for the most part, rather than developing a wide-ranging and deep-reaching view of the life of the family and its times, lines them up and points them all in the same direction. But, because his view of Cleo is willfully, cavalierly vague, his view of the public and historical events in which she becomes entangled, and which he dramatizes, is similarly flattened and obscured.

For instance, when Cleo learns that she鈥檚 pregnant, she鈥檚 seen sitting pensively at the window of the small garret room that she shares with Adela. Does she give any thought to abortion? What was the law on the subject in Mexico at the time? Was the practice common, regardless of legal strictures? Or consider the political context that Cuar贸n places into the story. There鈥檚 an ongoing issue regarding land use and ownership; the family鈥檚 wealthy friends living on a large estate are in a dispute with poorer local residents over land, and the conflict turns deadly. What are the issues in question? It鈥檚 all the odder that the movie remains vague when Adela mentions that Cleo鈥檚 mother鈥檚 land, in her native village, is being confiscated. What were the specifics of the political conflicts in Mexico then?

Cuar贸n sets up the story of the Corpus Christi Massacre with a close view of the training of the paramilitaries (with a hint鈥攂ut only a hint鈥攐f the C.I.A.鈥檚 involvement). Yet here, too, he empties the conflict of its ideas. What are the students protesting? What are they advocating? Why do they seem to threaten the regime? In a scene of a political campaign (a rather absurd one, featuring a human cannonball launched into a net) in a distant village, where unpaved streets are fetid with standing water and basic infrastructure is the Presidential candidate鈥檚 main promise, Cuar贸n suggests that Mexico was, at the time, at least a semblance of a democracy. But the film doesn鈥檛 make clear whether it was actually democratic, whether censorship was stringent, whether ordinary people, such as the family at the center of the film, lived in fear of repression.

What鈥檚 missing is, once more, supplied by Cuar贸n in an interview鈥攐ne that appeared in Le Monde several days ago鈥攊n which he discusses the massacre and its place in his family鈥檚 life: 鈥淎t the time of the Corpus Christi massacre, in 1971, I was ten years old. Part of my family was very much on the right, they hated the students who were protesting. But I had a Communist uncle. I repeated to him the rightist remarks that I was hearing and he asked me why I talked that way about the students and got me to realize that I was one of them, at the age of ten. I said to myself: I鈥檓 like them, except they鈥檙e older.鈥 Which is to say that, although the specifics of Mexico鈥檚 political crises were a part of his family life and personal reminiscences, Cuar贸n carefully omits them from the film.

Cuar贸n doesn鈥檛 have any more to say in 鈥淩oma鈥 about whether Cleo has any political sympathies, inclinations, or ideologies. She is not only angelic but devoid of any wider consciousness beyond her immediate well-being. In the film, politics are strictly personal, de-ideologized, dehistoricized. Cuar贸n even manages to empty out the social abrasions that he drops into the script as asides. For instance, in one brief scene at the cousins鈥 country estate, Cleo is brought by another domestic worker, named Benita (Clementina Guadarrama), to a New Year鈥檚 Eve party of fellow-laborers. But Benita doesn鈥檛 want to invite Adela, one of the 鈥渃ity nannies鈥 whom she considers haughty and snobbish鈥攜et there鈥檚 nothing of this attitude, or these social differences, reflected in Cleo鈥檚 interactions with Adela, who鈥檚 her close friend. But, because neither Cleo nor Adela is given the script space to say much at all beyond the immediate demands of the plot, neither has enough dramatic personality to grate on anyone at all.

The film鈥檚 point of view isn鈥檛 clear regarding its characters鈥攁nd Cuar贸n鈥檚 decorative visual style is calibrated to match the script鈥檚 vagueness. 鈥淩oma鈥 is filmed in a silky, digital black-and-white palette that, in eliminating film grain, emphasizes visual details. There are many long takes, staged with a theatrical precision鈥攔ehearsed to death and timed to the moment鈥攖hat offer a sense of disparate fields of action unifying in the characters鈥 lives, and that raise the events to a heroic monumentality, which both emphasizes and depends on the cipherlike blankness of the aggrandizing portraiture. For all the movie鈥檚 respect for physical work, nearly all the scenes of work, of which there are many, have a detached, distanced imprecision, which suggests the checking-off of a scene list rather that an interest in the specific thoughts and demands of the work at hand. (There is, however, one extraordinary moment of observation, when Cleo, holding a downstairs phone until Sof铆a can take the call upstairs, hangs the phone up鈥攂ut not before wiping the mouthpiece on her apron.)

The intellectual core of the drama is the parallel of Cleo and Sof铆a鈥檚 abandonment by the men in their lives. Both Antonio and Ferm铆n behave irresponsibly and leave the two women in dire straits; the movie offers one moment, one line of dialogue, in which their plights are explicitly linked鈥攁nd it鈥檚 Sof铆a who delivers the line, to which Cleo listens mutely. Does she speak of her experience (and Sof铆a鈥檚) to Adela or another friend or relative? Not in the movie she doesn鈥檛; Cuar贸n lends both voice and consciousness to his intellectual character, to the stand-in for his mother.

鈥淩oma鈥 is a personal film, but the term 鈥減ersonal鈥 is no honorific, and it鈥檚 not an aesthetic term. It鈥檚 a neutral descriptor, though it often suggests that a filmmaker is inspired by more than the mere pleasure or power of a story鈥攂y an urgency that taps into a lifetime鈥檚 worth of experience and emotion. The downside is the risk of complacency, the sense that one鈥檚 own account of experience is sufficient for dramatic amplitude, psychological insight, character development, and contextual perspective. Cuar贸n proceeds as if the mere affectionate and compassionate depiction of a Libo-like character were a sufficient cinematic gesture in lieu of dramatic particulars鈥攁nd as if lending the entire range of characters their individualizing and contextualizing traits would risk viewers鈥 judgment of them on the basis of those particulars rather than on the basis of the social function of class, gender, and age that they鈥檙e supposed to represent. In his effort to make his characters universal, he makes them neutral and generic. For all its worthy intentions, 鈥淩oma鈥 is little more than the righteous affirmation of good intentions.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
rorschach
Member since Nov 10th 2004
7713 posts
Tue Feb-26-19 10:48 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
20. "You're right about Cleo...."
In response to Reply # 18


  

          

The family's drama stood out more to me on first viewing than Cleo. She's too much of a bystander to the events of the film rather than driving the plot. That beautiful scene at the beach is undermined by the fact that Cleo's arc didn't really build up to her revelation at the end of the scene.
---------------------------------------


---------------------------------------

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
82370 posts
Wed Feb-27-19 12:05 PM

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to add this author to your buddy list
22. "I completely agree."
In response to Reply # 20


  

          

>That beautiful scene at the
>beach is undermined by the fact that Cleo's arc didn't really
>build up to her revelation at the end of the scene.

Like, it's not that we don't *get* why she felt that way-- it's just never an idea that's explored in the slightest on screen. Like everything else about Cleo, we have to fill in the gaps ourselves.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Lobby Pass The Popcorn topic #730796 Previous topic | Next topic
Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.25
Copyright © DCScripts.com