At the NYFF for the premiere of the new film ‘Roma,’ the Knockturnal spoke to the cast and crew about the making of the movie.
Roma is the story of a middle class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s, seen through the eyes of the maid and nanny of the household, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio). A semi-autobiographical story from filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, Roma is sure to be one of the year’s biggest hits. Dropping on Netflix in December, the movie debuted in New York a time the New York Film Festival to massive applause and a standing ovation for Cuarón and the cast, particularly Aparicio.
On the carpet prior to the film, star Marina de Tavira talked about how challenging it was for her in particular, the only trained actress in a cast of first-time performers. Cuarón wrote a script and only gave it out day by day to the cast, which made it “an incredible gift… He made it the way we as human beings discover life” according to de Tavira. On working with non-professional actors, she said that Cuarón prepared her for working with fresher faces. “He said ‘you’re going to have to forget everything that you know so you can just flow with the way they work…’ So the first days were really difficult, but then we started to understand each other.”
First time actor Fernando Grediaga had previously worked in A&R at a record company so this film was a change of pace for him as well. “I don’t have any precedent [to film sets], so this was my first time.”
Because Roma is set in tense times in Mexico City’s history, it is incredibly relevant to the politics of today in both Mexico and in the United States. “The film made me unfold my own memories [of the eighties],” de Tavira said, “and I really hope that we change the way that we see family.” For Grediaga, he hopes people pay attention to what the film says about gender equality, and “how middle class people in America used to treat their help.” Because, as he says, “Mexico is mostly the same today as in the seventies.”
But for Alfonso Cuarón himself, this personal a movie hopes to have a different resonance. Bringing the inspiration for the character of Cleo with him to the premiere, Cuarón called attention to the idea of how boundaries are built where they aren’t needed. “Borders should be a celebration of different colors of humanity,” he said, “not about divisions.”
ROMA premieres on Netflix on December 14. From Director Alfonso Cuarón.