Roma ★★★

Would have loved to see a version of this largely unimpeded by plot, à la Amarcord (that’s the comparison people are jumping to, yeah? am I using it right?); just memorable imagery and events, strung together semi-aimlessly but crafting a mood which, as an amalgam, generates something more akin to “autobiography” than any one scene taken individually. It’s the only way you can justify Roma’s formalism IMO, which is waaaay crisper than how memory is normally depicted on-screen and therefore a little distracting. But then again, random stuff sticks out in the brain sometimes, even if you can’t grasp the significance then or now; maybe the point is to highlight the importance of those events looking back? (I’m reaching.) Cuarón kinda shoots himself in the foot here too though, with the plotting/structure running counter to any neorealism he might’ve achieved. Forest fire scene is awesome because an adult would suspect a political motive where a kid just sees big flames (and cause it recalls the barn burning in Mirror), but then The Director interjects and has a guy sing almost directly into the camera. Fermín’s desire for self-improvement being exploited by extremist groups to transform him into a Mishima-wannabe is a great background tone setter for the epoch; push it to the forefront to have him personally hold Cleo at gunpoint and it becomes a contrivance. But I digress. When Roma joins the cineaste canon in 15 years, I’ll probably decide to like it a lot more than I do now.

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