‘Roma’: Through Cuarón’s Intimate Lens
Alfonso Cuarón’s new movie Roma, named for the fashionable bourgeois neighborhood in Mexico City where Cuarón grew up and where the movie is set, begins with a still close-up of floor tiles. They’re plain; they seem to be made of a composite of cement and either crushed stone or crushed brick. From off screen there comes a slosh of water, soon followed by more sloshes as well as sounds of trickling and brushing. Something is being cleaned. Before the viewer can figure out what, water rushes into the frame, lightly sudsy. As it washes over the tiles, it brings on its quicksilver surface a bright reflection, which, as the water steadies, unfurls, wavering, into a rectangle. Subsequent sloshes ripple the rectangle away, but repeatedly, wobblingly, it reassembles itself. When a small airplane, perfectly in focus, softly droning, sails across it, we realize we are looking at a reflection of open sky.