ALFONSO CUARÓN | MEXICO | SPANISH, MIXTECO | 2018 | 135 MIN
Iconoclastic auteur Alfonso Cuarón returns to motion pictures for the first time since 2013’s GRAVITY with his most personal film yet— a masterwork for the ages that begs to be seen on the big screen.
Drawing deep into the well of his childhood growing up in Mexico City’s Roma district, Cuarón recreates in painstaking detail his neighborhood circa 1971. With a painterly approach, he brings forth an immersive cinematic experience centered around an upper-middle class household’s family crisis, reimagining the filmmaker’s own upbringing, but told largely from the point of view of Cleo, the indigenous maid and live-in nanny to matriarch Sofia, her husband, and small children. Deeply entrenched in the daily lives of her employers, Cleo finds herself at the forefront of a turbulent time, both within the family unit as Sofia’s husband spends less and less time at home, and politically, as the area is poised to erupt in historic conflict, all while contending with an unwanted pregnancy of her own. With silent resilience and indomitable spirit, Cleo navigates the emotionally delicate terrain of her surroundings, bearing responsibility for those in her care as the year progresses. Cuarón’s storytelling has reached an unparalleled peak, enriching every lovingly photographed frame of his opus with a stunning level of detail that rewards repeat viewings and offers new pathways and insights into the secrets of his subjects. These magnificent compositions, which themselves belong in a gallery, reveal an incredibly thoughtful purpose, becoming the lynchpin for conjuring a sense of place that will be studied in film schools. Brimming with long meditative shots meticulously crafted to cast a spell on the viewer, and a heartbreakingly subtle turn by Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Cuarón proves the cinematic experience can still be full of magic.
CAST: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira
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