Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#101 Post by knives » Tue Dec 25, 2018 3:17 am

For the first bit of this movie while I admired it I couldn't see much to get a fuss about. It shows Cuaron having matured greatly as a storyteller since his last Mexican film, but his last two features already prove that. It was only in the last forty minutes that the film showed its bonafides and became the great movie of the year. It is not merely a technical masterpiece, something Cuaron has never had difficulties with, but also one of story and character.

This is an extremely political movie not limited to commenting on the time frame it exists in many scenes and moments are coherent primarily in light of the previous government as reflected against the past. Yesterday explains today with Cleo standing in for so much of Mexico. That actually was the main thing that left me apprehensive at first. The tale of Mexico's indigenous population against its Euro one is as divided and fraught as the black and white one in the US with many additional complexities. To so starkly make the movie centered on that relationship is a real tight rope act especially for someone whose previous movies have been so centered on the Euro portion of that equation. I would still like to see what Mexican critics, real ones not some random Vox or Axios wank, on both sides of the equation say about this element, but I believe the last portion of the film manipulates its commentary in a savvy way never becoming another Driving Miss Daisy nor depriving Cleo the autonomy to be happy.

The representation of Cleo is a complicated one as the film presents her interior life, that is in fact the main drama of the film, while also allowing her to be passive as a member of the family through her servitude. With expressing things explicitly she becomes a figure like Hopkins in Remains of the Day. The job becomes her rock where her life has limitations. Yet the film makes clear that those limitations are just as much an end product of how society views her as much as anything else. That's why I found the final scene so completely emotionally devastating. It's ostensibly a happy moment where the family can forge through and they have made clear how valuable Cleo is. At the same time though what life does she have left?

The film would probably be a miserable fantasy of a rich person's assumption of what their servants do after dark if matters were left as just that. Instead the film has Cleo's mistress follow the same path as her mirroring ups and downs in a way that shows how the other side lives as well as making the family not just figures to dress upon. The film brings that out from the land as well. Mexico becomes the character even more passive than Cleo until it actively strikes against man in two very different scenes. The film as a whole proves a valuable reminder of Mexico's unique history and complicated character.

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Persona
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:16 pm

Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#102 Post by Persona » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:54 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:05 pm
The only bit that really felt like a misstep to me was the guy singing at the fire.
I really liked this moment though I probably can't explain why. I can see how it would feel out of place--like, oh, here's suddenly a very Fellini moment--but I almost wonder if it came from an actual memory of Cuaron's. Either way it worked for me, in that I felt something watching it and it was one of my favorite static compositions in the film.

dda1996a
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#103 Post by dda1996a » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:11 pm

Actually I wasn't reminded of Fellini, but more of Tarr and German to be honest (finally realized who it reminded me of while writing this reply)

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Persona
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#104 Post by Persona » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:52 pm

Yeah, Tarr is probably a closer reference, especially some of the moments in Werckmeister Harmonies.

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furbicide
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#105 Post by furbicide » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:00 am

furbicide wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:18 am
Look, I saw many of the films that made me fall in love with cinema on VHS on a medium-sized tube TV, which may be superior to watching on a phone, but by how much? (I mean, how far away do you sit from your phone in this situation? If you're holding a phone up in front of you vs sitting on the other side of the room from your TV, it's about the same size, right?) But I do hope I can catch this one at the cinema, because if nothing else at least it's guaranteed to be an uninterrupted, immersive experience.
Okay, so I just caught this in the cinema. Watching this on TV (at least for the first time) is madness. Fin.

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senseabove
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#106 Post by senseabove » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:58 pm

Tarr and a dash of Altman were definitely the forebears who came to mind: slow, steady, single-shot pans of chaotic scenes, tertiary characters coming and going, moments involving them that are minor but significant while they're left unwoven into the primary through-line of the story.

I quite liked the singer, too; in the moment, it felt like it walked a fine line between art as catharsis and art as ignorance, allowing for both spins, and underscoring the relation between the tragedies we do and don't see:
SpoilerShow
an elegiac hymn for the burning, (presumably) stolen land, versus the whispered conversations about the land theft
. It's both incongruously sublime and utterly absurd, and it feels like a good example of how Cuaron tries to leave a space for criticisms of the blindspots he has from his privileged position (or so it feels to me at least, admittedly being much, much closer, privilege-wise, to Cuaron than Cleo, and so perhaps eager to vindicate our artfully bleeding hearts). And it was of a piece with a few other potent, capital-S Symbols the movie used, like the broken cup. I'm looking forward to a second viewing next weekend to see if those feel forced or over-bearing the second time around...

I've been looking for Mexican/Latinx reviewers as well, and came across this omnibus of reviews, though the reviews are not too critical, mostly praise: http://remezcla.com/lists/film/latino-f ... so-cuaron/

FWIW, one of those reviews mentions Anna Muylaert's The Second Mother as doing a 'better job of presenting the complex social dynamics' of the maid/employer relationship. It's streaming on Prime, so I'm going to try to check that out over the holidays.

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knives
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#107 Post by knives » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:09 pm

That is a good one though I think it is more a case of safe exploration while Cuaron gives a messy effort.

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Magic Hate Ball
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#108 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:08 pm

Does anyone know what the singer was singing about?

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lacritfan
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#109 Post by lacritfan » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:35 am


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Slaphappy
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#110 Post by Slaphappy » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:33 pm

Persona wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:56 am
Some have criticized the film for being a bit thematically listless or whatever but I think Cuaron was just walking a very fine line and he pulled the balancing act off like only a master could. The film is personal but Cuaron doesn't focus on himself. It's intimate but pulled back in its perspective. The camera tells the story but it's also, simultaneously, telling many other stories. For about an hour and a half the film is just immersing you in this world, with this family, and primarily with their maid Cleo. And then the hits come and they take you aback with how much they hit you, because up until that point you may think you've just been riding along in the car or walking the streets with these characters, not really knowing them. It's a film that shows you that empathy can come not just from dramatic constructs but from simply time spent in a place with people, if that time spent is immersive enough. And in Roma it definitely is. It doesn't need 3D or VR or anything like that. Just immaculate photography and a sick sound mix and characters that feel authentic. Well, and lots of great art direction, since it's a period piece.
I think this nails the movie. The drifting pace actually worked so well, that the impressively cathartic beach climax felt a little bit rushed. For me Roma is the best movie of 2018 along with The Ballad of Buster Scrubbs. Both produced by Netflix. :shock:

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barryconvex
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#111 Post by barryconvex » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:12 am

I think you meant The Baggard of Buster Scrubbs...

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Aunt Peg
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#112 Post by Aunt Peg » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:36 am

Slaphappy wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:33 pm
Both produced by Netflix. :shock:
Netflix didn't produce Roma. They acquired it last as per Wikipedia:

'In April 2018, it was announced Netflix had acquired distribution rights to the film.'

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Slaphappy
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#113 Post by Slaphappy » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:24 pm

Aunt Peg wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:36 am
Slaphappy wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:33 pm
Both produced by Netflix. :shock:
Netflix didn't produce Roma. They acquired it last as per Wikipedia:

'In April 2018, it was announced Netflix had acquired distribution rights to the film.'
That increases my mixed feelings about this. Two of the most cinematic movies of 2018 released mainly for streaming.

barryconvex wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:12 am
I think you meant The Baggard of Buster Scrubbs...
Something specific on your mind you want to say?

felipe
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#114 Post by felipe » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:28 pm

senseabove wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:58 pm
FWIW, one of those reviews mentions Anna Muylaert's The Second Mother as doing a 'better job of presenting the complex social dynamics' of the maid/employer relationship. It's streaming on Prime, so I'm going to try to check that out over the holidays.
It does. I'd definitely recommend it.


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domino harvey
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#116 Post by domino harvey » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:38 am

Cuaron confirmed at the Q+A for the album that the film would be receiving a physical release this year on Blu-ray

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#117 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:47 am

Confirmed=Excellent

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TMDaines
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#118 Post by TMDaines » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:38 pm

Maybe I need to watch this again, but it just flatlined for me. I’m so disappointed to say that. I kept waiting for something, really anything to happen, but it just drifted. The riot scene was interesting, the hospital scene was brutal, but otherwise it just drifted. Again, the climatic penultimate scene just didn’t grab me either. I feel like I’ve seen all the aspects of this film done better elsewhere, albeit with less technical virtuosity.

Amazed that this is the film that might finally see a non-English-language film win Best Picture. Feels very circumstantial with it being a picture by Cuarón and Netflix’s first big art film. Critics did love it though.

dda1996a
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#119 Post by dda1996a » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:16 pm

TMDaines wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:38 pm
Maybe I need to watch this again, but it just flatlined for me. I’m so disappointed to say that. I kept waiting for something, really anything to happen, but it just drifted. The riot scene was interesting, the hospital scene was brutal, but otherwise it just drifted. Again, the climatic penultimate scene just didn’t grab me either. I feel like I’ve seen all the aspects of this film done better elsewhere, albeit with less technical virtuosity.

Amazed that this is the film that might finally see a non-English-language film win Best Picture. Feels very circumstantial with it being a picture by Cuarón and Netflix’s first big art film. Critics did love it though.
I'd say this is solid, beautiful looking, but I do share your opinion. No idea what made this film stand out compared to many other Foreign films.

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Never Cursed
Such is life on board the Redoutable
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#120 Post by Never Cursed » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:00 pm

Žižek argues that "Roma is being celebrated for the wrong reasons"

As a side note, the website to which I have just hyperlinked is now my least favorite site ever

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knives
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#121 Post by knives » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:09 pm

Well at least he seems to have seen the movie this time which is an improvement.

I feel like his basic reading of the class dynamic is basically correct (though I disagree with him on his statement regarding her feelings over her child), but since he must always be wrong about something I don't see any evidence that people have missed this obvious textual point. In fact the larger discussion of the film seems to highlight this point as the audience has made it clear that they are largely uncertain as to if Cuaron sufficiently clarifies this point.

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furbicide
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Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#122 Post by furbicide » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:40 pm

It's a good article, but yeah, the idea of Zizek writing a column for The Spectator is somewhere between bewildering and hilarious (like if John Pilger got a spot as a commentator on Fox News). Maybe they're happy to employ a Marxist because they know pretty much everyone on the left hates him now.

Zot!
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:09 am

Re: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

#123 Post by Zot! » Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:47 pm

Staid, shallow, and derivative with nothing to say. I hated this very much. Cuaron should stick to the Hollywood circus pictures and leave Fellini’s corpse alone.

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