Roma ★★★★½

Planes pass by, their engines roaring faintly above. A man selling plum tomatoes, perhaps to be sold for pollo rostizado en adobo, shouts for a sale. Children down the street play with sticks and cap guns, laughing and careening about. The postman rides by on his bicycle, the wheels carouseling over bits of gravel, as dogs bark at him in the distance. Ivy vines crawl up the adobe houses and their leaves crinkle in the light breeze. A woman sweeps the sidewalk clear of dust left behind by previous walkers. Birds sing songs of descent into the air and flap their wings to travel from telephone wire to telephone wire.   

I felt all of this. Not only did I feel it, but I could smell it, I could hear it. I knew it. Alfonso Cuarón took me back in time to Mexico City and, for a brief two hours, I was completely transported and immersed. The images used are crisp and gorgeous, but it’s the sound design in Roma that has me completely enamored. I lived with Cleo, but I also lived with her neighbors, and her village, and the city. This is the good, patient kind of stuff that a slice-of-life film is meant to convey.

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