‘Roma’ is exactly the kind of film Netflix should be championing.
The past four years have felt like an eternity. Alfonso Cuarón is thankfully not a filmmaker to rush into projects, but since the spectacular craft of Gravity, movie maniacs like ourselves have been eagerly awaiting his return. Having acquired seven Academy Awards including Best Director, Cuarón could have had his pick at any number of showy Hollywood projects. Instead, he went home and narrowed his focus to a deeply personal story regarding human connectivity.
This first teaser trailer for Roma offers very little regarding narrative, but there is no denying the beauty of its black and white imagery. Cuarón remains a master of composition. Here is a filmmaker ripping his heart out for all to see.
The film will premiere at the end of the month during the Venice Film Festival. Buzz has latched on hard, and the notion that Cuarón has found inspiration through the various women who raised him to adulthood has piqued the curiosity of cineastes. Cuarón has proved himself compatible with Harry Potter and Sandra Bullock, but the ache for another Y Tu Mamá También is significant.
Uknown actress Yalitza Aparicio plays Cleo, a domestic worker employed by a well-off family in the Mexico City suburbs of Roma in the 1970s. Cleo must care for the children of Sofia (Marina de Tavira) while also struggling under the weight of her own personal tragedy. The city is in turmoil as student demonstrators brush against a government-sanctioned militia. Cleo and Sofia are forced to confront their stations in life and find harmony despite their conflicting social statuses.
According to Deadline, Netflix is planning to release Roma in theaters before launching it to stream on the service later this year. However, no firm theatrical release date has been confirmed. Time is running out, but hopefully, Roma can get in front of the right sets of eyes. Netflix’s newfound commitment to artists like Cuarón, Scorsese, and the Coen brothers suggests a serious desire to worm their way into the awards season.
Netflix has previously prided itself on day-and-date launches, bucking against traditional release schedules. Are they now prepared to play ball? Amazon Studios has long shown that one can eat their cake and have it too. In allowing a short theatrical window, Amazon’s movies seemingly last longer in the public consciousness than those dumped on Netflix. Was anyone discussing Macon Blair’s Sundance hit I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore after the day of its download? No, and that’s practically criminal.
Roma is everything Netflix should be concentrating its efforts to deliver. As studios scramble to spend all their cash on gargantuan entertainments, the streaming platform has the opportunity to steal back the mid-budget character study. In their bid to take over the global household, Netflix needs not worry about attention seeking explosions or A-list actors to hang on their promotional materials.
They’ve already hooked us with their Marvel shows and various other must-see serialized programming. The time has finally come for Netflix to snatch a few Oscars.