Cinematic Language and Conventions-Roma

Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón is a Mexican dram film that follows the life of a young domestic worker. The black and white film was nominated for 20 awards in 2019, 9 of which it won.

Roma trailer

Roma had an international release on Netflix rather than cinemas, in what ways does viewing on Netflix rather than cinema alter your experience?

Viewing Roma on Netflix almost makes the experience similar to finding a hidden treasure. Instead of seeing this film broadcast all over the place, you have to actively seek it out yourself. Most of the time people watch Netflix alone which adds to the experience of enjoying the films beauty in silence.

Research who directed the film and their motivations for making it

Alfonso Cuarón created Roma as a reflection of childhood. The semi-autobiographical piece was a way for him to make sense of the pain he experienced as a child.

Why do you think they shot black and white instead of colour?

Alfonso made the decision to produce the film in black and white because “…he wanted to craft a film that peered into the past through the prism of the present, an objective experience seen from the understanding he has as an adult. That is partly why he opted for the pristine imagery of large-format black-and-white digital photography, rather than the grain of celluloid.” This choice of colouring was a way for Alfonso to share his own perspective on his childhood.

What difference does it make for you?

I think having the film as black and white gave it originality and a kind of rawness. You can tell that it wasn’t just done to stand out but that it was the right decision for the film and the story.

References

Tapley, K 2018, “Alfonso Cuarón on the Painful and Poetic Backstory Behind ‘Roma’”, Variety, < https://variety.com/2018/film/news/roma-alfonso-cuaron-netflix-libo-rodriguez-1202988695/>

Law, J 2021, ‘Cinematic Language and Conventions’, online lecture, BCM115, University of Wollongong, viewed 7 May 2021.

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