Cuaron: I tried not to romanticize the past in “Roma”


Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron said he sought to avoid romanticizing the past in “Roma,” a family drama that was a surprise winner of the top prize (Golden Lion) at the Venice Film Festival and which will be streamed on Netflix starting Friday.

“I wasn’t interested in making a film with that nostalgia, with that romanticizing of the past. I was interested in looking at the past from the perspective of the present,” the 57-year-old filmmaker told EFE in a telephone interview.

Filmed in exquisite black and white, the film tells the story of an indigenous woman named Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) who works as a live-in housekeeper for a white, middle-class family in the Mexican capital’s Colonia Roma district in the early 1970s.

“Roma,” a semi-biographical look at Cuaron’s own upbringing that weaves issues of racism and classism into a tender and intimate storyline, has received widespread critical acclaim and been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

It also is Mexico’s foreign-language submission for the 91st Academy Awards, which will honor the best films of 2018.

“It’s very surprising what’s happening,” Cuaron, who won a best-director Oscar for his 2013 film “Gravity” and also garnered critical praise and box-office success with “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” said of his latest film’s broad appeal.

“I thought very few people would see it, that maybe some people from my generation in Mexico would connect with it. And the emotional response in all different parts of the world has been amazing,” he added.