Archiv der Kategorie: Alfonso Cuarón

Life Is an Ocean

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.

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The Human Quest

Film review: Gravity (Director: Alfonso Cuarón)

By Sascha Krieger

The blue planet: At the beginning of Gravity, the earth moves slowly into view, inhabiting a dark, silent universe. The silence is broken by faint radio communication that gradually grows louder as a space shuttle appears, first as a dot, then slowly growing larger. It is a long, slow, quiet opening sequence that sets the stage for Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film.  Three astronauts are doing some repair work on the Hubble telescope, the focus is on seasoned commander Matthew Kowalsky (George Clooney) and scientist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock). The atmosphere is loose: Kowalsky tells funny stories and plays country music, Stone is focused on her work, when suddenly a Russian missile meant to destroy a disused satellite caused a chain reaction: debris from countless satellites and other objects turns into missiles destroying the shuttle and sending Kowalsky and stone on a lone quest to survive – alone in space. A nightmarish scenario and yet not one entirely implausible. Debris is more and more clogging then earth’s orbit, attempts at getting rid of things in space manifold and often short-sighted. This is one theme of the film, coupled with the human hubris of controlling nature – or, in this case, the entire universe. On the other hand, Gravity is a tale of human perseverance, of the strength the will to live can instill, and also of the power of human sacrifice.

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