“Roma” at the 2019 Oscars: “Classist, boring and without plot,” say critics of the film for which Alfonso Cuarón won the Oscar for best director


Although most of the international critics have surrendered to “Rome”, this film that won 10 nominations for the Oscars – and that finally won three awards – also has its detractors.

BBC Mundo interviewed several film critics who talk about why the latest film by Mexican Alfonso Cuarón does not seem like the “masterpiece” that many people talk about.

Iván Reguera, responsible for cinema in Cuarto Poder, a newspaper from Spain, says that with “Roma” there is a phenomenon similar to that of the story “The new suit of the emperor” by Hans Christian Andersen.

According to this fable, only a child dares to say that the emperor is naked, without being carried away by what everyone else says.

“Few here talk about the failures of ‘Roma’ because Netflix’s great marketing power has been mixed with a kind of Mexican nationalist pride ,” he says

In addition, he considers that there is a “cultural imposture”.

Image captionThe film of Cuarón tied in nominations with “La favorita”.

“In the current times, everything is very mixed with advertising and marketing, ‘Roma’, with that package, that shape, that black and white, works very well in film festivals.”

But he says that in reality “is boring, cold empty, has no script.”

Reguera tells BBC Mundo that it is impossible for him to have empathy with the characters.

“Naturalize classism”

Other critics consider that it is classist.

” In ‘ Roma ‘ , Cuarón naturalizes classism and racism, it is really an apology,” says Rodrigo Islas, film critic.

Islas explains that the film talks about the relationship of a domestic worker and the family with whom she works, but that she does not do so with a critical eye .

“Cuarón says he has drawn attention to existing problems, but he has done it to say that what is happening is fine, he speaks from the nostalgia of a lullaby who brings him the liquido from the darkness and then returns to the shadows.

“She washed his underpants all his childhood: There is no possible equality in what he proposes.”

He says that “Rome” sells the discourse of inclusion, when in reality it is not.

Alfonso Cuarón on the set of "Roma"
Image captionAlfonso Cuarón tied with Orson Wells and Warren Beatty as the person with the most nominations for a single film.

“I respect the work of Yalitza Aparicio as an actress, but I think they are using it as a spearhead for an apparent inclusion, for example, when it appears on the covers of magazines.

“It helps to prevail the discourse in which it is always simulating to include minorities , the oppressed”.

He gives as another example the passage in the film in which the mother of the family, Sofia, tells the maid that in the end the two are women who are alone.

“Wrong reasons”

“But there can not be equality while one is subject to the other,” Cuarón sees it as something normal, even as something healthy: if social inequalities are not resolved, at least they should join.

Both Reguera and Islas mention the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek who published in the British magazine The Spectator that this film “is celebrated for all the wrong reasons” .

This philosopher says that in “Rome” is celebrated the kindness and selfless dedication of Cleo, the domestic employee, to the family with whom she works, while in reality she is in a “trap that enslaves her” .

Alfonso Cuarón with his two Bafta awards
Image captionDirector Alfonso Cuarón won the Bafta award for best director and best film for “Roma”.

“Catch visually”

Despite the criticism, the detractors agree that it is technically a successful film. “It captivates and seduces visually, but I insist, the plot seems to me loose “, says the writer JM Servin.

With it coincides Islands.

“Cuarón is a visually incredible filmmaker, but since ‘Gravity’ he has already shown that his is not complexity , stories with characters of various dimensions, but stories full of clichés, ” he says.

Jesús Chavarría, a film critic, is less harsh with “Roma” and considers it a “film portent ” with moments of virtuosity.

It speaks of a very careful production and the great ability to handle the cinematographic language.

Marina de Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio
Image captionMarina de Tavira, an experienced Mexican actress, is nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress for “Roma”.

He says that “almost all nominations” are deserved, except two:

“Yalitza does an impressive job because she did not have experience as an actress, but her acting is not as complex as other actresses she competes with, nor should she have the best script nomination: it’s not very elaborate, it ‘s very basic.”

Finally, at the 2019 Oscar Awards, three of the 10 nominations became statuettes: best director, best photograph and best film in non-English language.

* This note was updated to reflect the results of the Oscar 2019 awards.

Source: BBC

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