Last night I attended the special screening of ROMA, which also featured a Q&A with its award-winning director, Alfonso Cuarón. It was intense, intimate and immersive and provided an unexpected personal experience.
ROMA is a semi-autobiographical take on Cuarón’s upbringing in Mexico City, and follows the life of a live-in housekeeper to a middle-class family. So what does it have to do with me?
Well, I am the same age as Cuarón (i.e. 57) and I could see my own childhood being presented in ROMA, even if our homes were located half a world away. The buildings, the street scenes, the fashion – everything was so familiar, it was quite eerie.
Now, of course, ROMA is backed by Netflix and is intended for streaming but watching it in a cinema hall and on a big screen seemed like the only way ROMA should be seen.
The photographic details, the visceral sound design, the sophistication of the black and white grading – it had to be witnessed in all its glory and I can not help but feel that the impact of the film would be gravely diminished on a computer or phone screen.
The Q&A with Cuarón was predictably insightful, wonderfully facilitated by our very own Boo Junfeng. ROMA was certainly a labour of love for Cuarón and he exploited his commercial value after winning an Oscar for Gravity by making this personal film, instead of ‘furthering’ his career.
Cuarón deserves tremendous respect for taking the artistic route with ROMA and hopefully, he will receive as much praise and acclaim as he did for Children of Men and Gravity.
Naturally, I recommend ROMA to everyone who reads this review – it is a film that touches the heart for sure but more than that, it is a film that affirms the best artistic values of film, storytelling and the human experience.
A big gracias to Netflix and Singapore Film Society for making this special event possible.
… still there’s more …