I didn’t realise until the other day that Roma — Alfonso Cuarón’s recreation of his 1970s Mexico City childhood, focused on one of the family’s maids — didn’t get much of a cinema release, being a Netflix film. So I’m extra glad I saw it in NFT1 at BFI Southbank: it looked amazing.
I don’t think I pay that much attention to particular shots while watching most films but it’s hard not to be impressed by many of Roma’s long, long, wide black-and-white shots. In fact they were so good they seemed too good to be true, and I was slightly distracted by wondering how much of what I was seeing was digitally-created, even before I read that lots of it was heavily amended in post-production. It still looks gorgeous, but that knowledge makes it feel different, somehow.
With it looking so great, I feel bad for saying that I didn’t feel emotionally touched by it. To me it was all wonderfully done, from the performances to the locations to that cinematography, but, a few disparate moments aside I didn’t feel involved. Maybe my heart is made of stone, but it’s the imagery that has stuck with me since, more than than any particular feeling.