Last weekend I watched the award-winning black and white film, "Roma". Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, the film is semi-autobiographical and set in the suburbs of Mexico City in 1970 and 1971. Delivered in the Spanish language, "Roma" required English subtitles.
It has nothing to do with the capital of Italy or European gypsies. The title "Roma" refers to the Colonia Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City in which Alfonso Cuarón grew up. The film is dedicated to his family's housekeeper - Libo upon whom the main character "Cleo" Gutiérrez played by Yalitza Aparicio is closely based.
"Roma" is lovingly crafted and it contains many memorable images. Sometimes the camera seems to slide along the pavement capturing the other side of the street with smooth fluency, showing us the sunny vitality of Mexico's capital.
There is laughter and family quarrels, an unwanted pregnancy, a trip to the seaside, trips to the cinema, a marital breakdown, student riots and a giant plastic lobster. Cuarón has packed it all in. It is an affectionate homage to his childhood.
One newspaper reviewer said, "Roma is thrilling, engrossing, moving – and just entirely amazing, an adjectival pileup of wonder. He has reached back into his own childhood to create an intensely personal story."
Shirley, Frances and I are not film critics but we like good films. All three of us appreciated the cinematography but in terms of plot we were left somewhat bemused. Where was "Roma" going? What did it have to say? Ultimately it seemed like a slice of life with no real beginning or end or indeed purpose. It just drifted along, albeit tenderly imbued with one man's sentimental sense of a life now left behind and I think we can all relate to that.