Netflix has financed one of the best films of the year: Roma by Alfonso Cuarón. But luckily, it is also being screened in a cinema in Brussels. Every second of the film cries out for the big screen.
The Mexican master storyteller Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men) decided the time was ripe to use the credit that he has been building up in Hollywood over the past several years. Not for a megalomaniacal project but for a Mexican film about an eventful year in his youth. In black and white. The classic film studios did not dare to cough up the necessary cash, but Netflix did.
The streaming service will not be regretting the decision. Roma is a gem that won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and which will undoubtedly win other prestigious prizes. This will make it almost impossible not to take Netflix seriously as a film studio.
The traditional film world is not happy about the fact that Netflix is breaking its habit of waiting several months after the cinematic release to make films available on other platforms. Roma will be available on Netflix on 14 December. But Cuarón requested that it would also be screened in selected cinemas. Palace is one of them. Later on, it will also be screened in a few more Belgian cinemas.
The irony is that Roma is an excellent example of a film that benefits enormously from the possibilities that a big screen offers. Cuarón, who did the camera work himself, invests all his technical virtuosity and visual storytelling to elevate an intimate and bittersweet family drama into very natural cinematic art. He does not focus his story on himself or a relative. He transforms it into a compelling but never sentimental tribute to one of the live-in maids that a Mexican middle-class family could afford in the 1970s.
Cleo sees up-close how the large family goes through a turbulent time because the father is never at home. She also gets into trouble when she gets pregnant by a young man and he disappears. The difference in social status is problematic, but it does not stand in the way of genuine solidarity and love. Another advantage of the cinema: in the dark, nobody will see the tears rolling down your cheeks.