Director Alfonso Cuaron’s recent( and excellent) films were all fiction and science fiction (” Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ,”” Children of Men” and “Gravity” ). But with “Roma,” he returns to the realist mode of his breakthrough” Y Tu Mama Tambien .”
Here, Cuaron tells the story of his childhood in Mexico City — but through the eyes of Cleo( played by Yalitza Aparicio ), based on the real maid who played a crucial role in creating Cuaron and his siblings. It’s a largely plotless movie( particularly in its first half ), beautifully hits in black-and-white, capturing the rhythm and subtle power dynamics of everyday family life.
To discuss ” Roma ,” we’re joined by Brian Heater, who said he was hard-pressed to think of a better movie liberated this year. We had a few reservations — about the film’s tempo, about some of the plotting and about whether Cleo is depicted as a amply three-dimensional person — but none of us denied that Cuaron has staged scenes here that are suspenseful as anything in “Gravity.” And as the credits rolled, at the least one of your hosts procured himself in tears.