Roma by Alfonso Cuarón [7/10]

Roma” is subdued yet stark, arty but earthy, an odd film for someone like me, sitting at the askew end of the mainstream movie-going public. The writer/director/ cinematographer has shot the entire two and a quarter hours in a dreamy black and white palette with an expressive range of grays, and he has an instinct for drawing in close or backing out into chroreographed sweeps. The story of a year in the life of the maid of a Mexican middle-class family in the early 1970s is presented with little setup or concession to storytelling ease, so I was forced to concentrate hard, and I found that intoxicating. Yalitza Apiricio, the newbie actor playing the maid, is stunning, especially in her silences. Her relationship with her mistress’s children is rendered subtly and convincingly. The actual storyline – the plot if you like – is the film’s only drawback. Though there are scenes of great drama – the massacre, the surf – the overall narrative lacks punch. Call it verity if you like but parts of the showing dragged. Overall, a most intriguing expression of a vision, but one that needed, in my opinion, additional dramatic depth.

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