TIFF18 Review: ROMA – Pam Grady

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If Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning sci-fi epic revealed a master filmmaker in complete command of his craft, the director’s latest, Roma, shows him at the height of his artistry. A film so personal that he gathered together family furniture with which to decorate his sets, he spins the tale of a 1970s Mexico City family and the young nanny, Cleo (newcomer Yalitza Aparicio, terrific), who is an integral part of it. Inspired by his own childhood and the woman who helped raise him, Cuarón shoots his first film in his native country since Y Tu Mamá También nearly two decades ago. It unreels like memory, blending quotidian scenes of family life with dramatic historical moments (an earthquake, student unrest), and leavening bits of absurdity. Exquisite sound design and the director’s own shimmering black-and-white cinematography add to the pleasure of this warm, evocative drama, the winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion and easily one of the best films of 2018.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Roma is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for January 25, 2019. The film won five 2018 EDA Awards: Best Film and Best non-English Language Film, and Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing for Cuaron.

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Pam Grady

Pam Grady is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Box Office, FilmStew, SF State Magazine and other publications. Her career began at Reel.com where she was an editor and staff critic. She is currently President of the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle.