You may remember the Mexican film Y Tu Mamá También (2001), which among other things launched the acting career of Gael Garcia Bernal. It’s one of my favourite movies. Its director, Alfonso Cuarón, has since gone on to win many accolades, most notably in 2014 with the Oscar, Bafta and Golden Globe award as best director for Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. He has also directed one of the Harry Potter movies, and won awards for his camera work and screenplays. He’s a very talented man.
There has been great excitement around his latest film, Roma, in which he returned to his Mexican roots. It won the Golden Lion award at the Venice International Film Festival, and has been chosen as Mexico’s entry in for the Best Foreign Language film at the 2019 Oscars. It has also been chosen to open the 2018 Cine Latino festival, which starts next week in major Australian cities and features a very impressive line-up, including a restored version of Y Tu Mamá También, which will close the festival.
I was fortunate to be treated to a preview of Roma at Palace Cinemas in Sydney. It is superb in many ways, particularly the cinematography – Cuarón’s own, all in black and white. I mean, look at how stunning the images are in the trailer…
Still, it’s a very different kettle of fish to Y Tu Mamá También. It’s slower, sombre, very measured and requires patient viewing, at 135 minutes. To be honest, it felt longer! But it was more my bladder than my brain that wanted it to get a move on.
Be warned: there is a lot of dog turd (symbolic of ???? – you decide) in it, and unusually for modern cinema there is a startling spell of full-frontal male nudity in which Mexican actor Jorge Antonio Guerrero shows off his martial arts prowess to his girlfriend (the female lead, played by Yalitza Aparicio) with a makeshift weapon – a shower curtain rod.
It’s a film that every aspiring film maker should see, once for pleasure and for the story, at least once again to study the cinematography, clever imagery and symbolism. Here are comprehensive reviews (i.e., by much better film critics than me): from Variety, from The Guardian and from The Hollywood Reporter.
The 2018 Cine Latino Festival dates are:
- Melbourne: November 13-28
- Canberra: November 14-28
- Sydney: November 15-28
- Brisbane: November 21 to December 2
- Perth: December 6-16