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TIFF Review: Roma – “The imagery is stunningly sharp”

In 1971, a live-in maid and nanny experiences love and loss while working for an upper-middle class family in the Mexico City district of Roma.

Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) maintains the household of her employers and in the process witnesses the family disintegrate as the husband decides to begin a new life with his mistress; her own pursuit of happiness is undermined by a lover with no interest in becoming a father.

Choosing to making a black and white film amplifies the sense of nostalgia the permutates throughout the story. A number of tracking shots cleverly execute key scenes such as the high-end department store in contrast with the revolution on the streets below and a dramatic moment on a beach where death looks imminent.

The acting is solid throughout with Yalitza Aparicio leading the way.  Filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, who also does the cinematography, makes interesting choices such as what he decides to blur in a hospital operating room, a nude martial arts number, and making fun himself with a reference to an Oscar-winning film.  The imagery is stunningly sharp, and the monochromatic style literally and figuratively paints the world in shades of greys.

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Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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