Roma - Review
by Grace Blissitt
The multi-award winning film ‘ROMA’, which premiered at the Venice International film festival, has already been described as the “best film of the year” by many critics, winning the British Independent Film Award for Best International Independent Film. Written and directed by Academy Award-winner Alfonso Cuarón, ‘ROMA’ is a partially autobiographical film that follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a domestic servant working in for a middle-class family in Roma, Mexico City, in the early 1970s.
The breath-taking cinematography and use of sound in the film make the viewer acutely aware of the environment surrounding the active view point shown at any time. This highlights the importance of setting, not only of the character in their situation, but of Roma and the constant calamity and instability of Mexico City. The changes in volume, particularly of the dialogue, allow great insight into what individual characters are focusing on, and thus creating a moving, personal and haunting understanding of their situation.
The scale of the unrest in Mexico City and its effects on ordinary life reach their peak in the depiction of the Corpus Christi Massacre. The massacre of student protesters by a group of soldiers is shown from Cleo’s viewpoint as she is looking down on the scene from a shop window. The viewer is thus given an incredibly brutal and shocking understanding of the terror, panic and scale of the crisis.
This film is built on the backbone of family and the question of what family is. Throughout the film, we see the mother, Mrs Sofia (Marina de Tavira), desperately trying to hide the actions of her womaniser husband, Dr Antonio (Fernando Grediaga), from her children and maintain a stable home. Cleo is a key figure in the family household, and the divide between family and employee is blurred as the film progresses and the dysfunctional, under-pressure family presented to us at the start of the film begins to crack. ‘ROMA’ is a heart-warming, astounding piece of cinema showing the support of loved ones and family in chaotic and uncertain times.