Nothing at Stake

Visual Analysis — Feb 11, 2020

The most deeply personal film of Alfonso Cuarón’s career, Roma imbues the director’s own childhood memories with the epic sweep of history. But for all the technical virtuosity and monumental scale on display in its set pieces, the movie—which joins the Collection today in a director-approved edition—is anchored by the quiet, loving attention it pays to the rhythms and textures of early-1970s Mexico City, captured from the perspective of an indigenous domestic worker (Yalitza Aparicio) caring for a middle-class family during a time of emotional upheaval. In this new video essay, Columbus director Kogonada explores how the in-between moments of the protagonist’s daily existence serve as the heart of Cuarón’s vision—and connect it to the themes of life, death, and rebirth in a few very different works in his filmography, including the dystopian thriller Children of Men and the space odyssey Gravity.

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