Film review: Roma (Director: Alfonso Cuarón)
By Sascha Krieger
It might not be a co-incidence that two of the three A festivals‘ winners in 2018 dealt with the question what it means to be a family. In Shoplifters, winner of Cannes‘ Palme d’or, Hirokazu Kore-eda lovingly portrayed a makeshift family breaking all of society’s rules to uphold one of its professed core values. In Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, awarded with Venice’s Golden Lion, the family is more traditional: mother, father, four children – and a servant doubling as an improvised nanny. Cuarón looks back at his own childhood – and pays homage to his family’s real centre piece: Liboria Rodriguez, called Libo, to whom the film is dedicated, an indigenous woman working in the Cuarón household and more of a second mother to Alfonso and his siblings. Roma’s version is called Cleo but she, too, remains a steady presence in a world, big and small, in which certainty’s seem to be disappearimng at an alarming pace. The father leabves the family – not on a work assignement as pretended initially – but for another woman, while 1970 Mexico is rattled by civil unrest and the backlash from an increasingly authoritarian government.