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Cinema Signal: MOBILE version |
. "Roma"

After probing family and social relationships in such films as "Children of Men" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and the outstanding success of a futuristic space journey in "Gravity," wherein lays leading edge CGI effects, Director Alfonso Cuaron recedes to black and white photography and calm, artful tones to meditate on his childhood. "Roma" appears to be a thank you letter to the woman who raised him in a busy and comfortable Mexican home for his extended family of fairly comfortable means, circa 1971.

Principal here is the maid of all needs in the household, the very young Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) who is given central stage thoughout the year-long, soft, gentle, puffy memorialization of a major influence in Cuaron's boyhood. Given the importance of the role I can only imagine that the auteur would have spent some considerable time casting the representational actor for the part. But I could be the only reviewer bewildered and unforgiving for the inherent limitations.

The part is Aparicio's first and her stage presence reveals it. Now, we've seen plenty of brilliant first-time wonders but, to me, Aparicio is far from that, possessing no great physical attraction, magnetism, nor natural charisma. I simply couldn't detect the quality that earned her attention and ceaseless promotion apart from the simple fact that it was for Cuaron and the studio which was prepared to spend any amount to buy media attention for award time.

At the time of this writing, the astounding size of the purse to promote "Roma" paid off with an Oscar nomination and other awards, but it buys me little appreciation except for the downright beauty of the black and white imagery.

Worse, it didn't take me very far in sharing his homage. The flood of promotion ads in every outlet possible affected me far more. Negatively.

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                                                                              ~~  Jules Brenner  

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