Roma by Alfonso Cuarón

Set in Mexico City in the early 1970s against a backdrop of political turmoil Roma centres around a young indigenous woman Cleo (played by Yalitza Aparicio) who has left her family inthe country to work as a maid for a middle-class family in the city. The celebrated Mexican director, Alfonso Cuarón, draws on memories of his very own childhood in Mexico City and is an ode to the women who raised him.

Roma is beautifully rendered in black and white and there are long sweeping shots that follow Cleo as she moves through her daily routine. The cinematography creates a sense of intimacy between the viewers and Cleo, delicately interweaving the narrative of the family as well as the narrative of Mexico at that time. The plot takes a series of turns with an unexpected pregnancy, an earthquake, a road trip, a death and a violent police massacre.

The film is shot entirely in black and white

Indigenous Language

Ilustración de la Mixteca

It is interesting to note that in Roma the dialogue fluidly slips between Spanish and Mixteco. The term ‘Mixtec’ comes from the Nahuatl word meaning ‘cloud people’ or ‘people of the rain’. It can be easy to forget that there existed rich and diverse cultures and languages before the Spanish arrived in Latin America. The region La Mixteca is mainly located in Oaxaca but extends to the surrounding area and the Mixtec culture traces back as far as 7,000 years ago! There are an estimated half a million Mixteco speakers today both in Mexico and the USA.


In recognition of the importance of Indigenous languages and their revitalisation, 2019 was the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages.

Where to Watch

Roma can easily be streamed on Netflix in your bedroom or on your couch but I highly recommend if you can watching it on a big screen so you can fully immerse yourself in the world that Alfonso Cuarón has created. Click below to watch the official trailer.

P.S.A I cried whilst watching. 

P.S. If you finish Roma before all the popcorn why not get some more cinematic inspirations from El Patio’s picks from last years Melbourne International Film Festival, you can find them here.

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By Zsarzy
October 2, 2019



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