Roma ★★★★★

Cuaron's sudden introduction of masculine materialist iconography in a diegesis filtered through a feminine lens serves as an ingenious thematic wrecking ball.

He photographs these macho/suave signifiers, including the patriarch's Ford Galaxy, as Spielberg would shoot Oskar Schindler in the opening scenes of Schindler's List; that is, by mythologizing masculinity through a quick succession of visual staccatos portraying cuff links, cigarettes, and ash trays.

Thus begins Cuaron's apparent attempt to smuggle in a formal demarcation separating the male and female universes -- the former is made to appear hectic and feverish (hence the aforementioned staccatos), while the latter is depicted as a serene shelter through a series of smooth, unbroken steadycam shots.

Few things are as cathartic as a scene in this film where the matriarch, having previously learned that her husband was an unfaithful asshole, deliberately wrecks the patriarch's American muscle car -- the ultimate masculine icon -- in a single, unbroken take.

This dense masterwork is, without a doubt, my favorite film of the year.

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