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“ROMA”: Cuarón’s Representation of Empathy

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

“Roma” premiered in 2018 and is the first Netflix film nominated for an Oscar. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, the movie is simply an admirable representation of life in its purest form. Inspired by Cuarón’s childhood and his memories, the movie also portrays Mexico and its history with the context of the scenario in 1970’s. Telling the story of a woman called Cleo, who works for a middle class family and takes care of their children, the director shows his sensibility when representing ordinary lives and how simple it really is.

The movie is more than two and a half hours long, but from the opening shot you know it’s going to be a different experience, because it brings a specific aesthetic and beautiful photography, all in black and white, with just an image of tiles and soapy water. Cuaron puts all efforts into every detail and its depths in the story.

We’re shown how the perfect house and family has their personal problems and flaws in each one of them, as humans with their own internal issues. At the same time, the director uses an empathic way to approach Cleo’s story along with the beautiful acting of Yalitza Aparicio, that is very meaningful and soulful demonstrating how strong and delicate the character is just by her features and personality, while we also see the differences between the two social classes and their economic status.

The focus on the delicate development of the characters portrays the relation between bosses and employees. It’s a thought-provoking film, where we see different representations of Mexican society. There are not only family’s problems but also environmental catastrophes and social issues just like the inequality in society.

Roma, by Afonso Cuaron, is a production that needs to be felt and reflected about. And specifically because of that sensitive portrait of an ordinary life that he brings to the script and the camerawork with the aesthetic of the images, it’s hard to not be captivated by the beautiful movie and the story that comes with it.

Check out the trailer here.

Giovanna Favero

Casper Libero '21

Journalism student from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Constantly finding herself, telling stories and fighting for a better and equal world.