For those of you who’ve been counting, it’s been five years since the release of Alfonso Cuarón’s last movie (Gravity) and 17 years since he’s worked on a project set in Mexico (Y tu mamá también). But the wait is almost over. Following last week’s announcement that his newest film Roma would play at the New York Film Festival in October, we now know that it’s world premiere will take place at the Venice Film Festival, and then make a stop at the Toronto International Film Festival before heading to NYFF. It’s expected to have a small theatrical release before debuting on Netflix later this year.
Set in the middle-class Mexico City neighborhood of Colonia Roma, most of the details have been kept secret. Hailed as his most personal film yet, the Gravity director explains he didn’t do much research for this semi-autobiographical movie. “Ninety percent of the scenes represented in the film are scenes taken out of my memory,” he told Indiewire. A year ago, we got a behind-the-scenes look at the film shoot. That’s as close as we got to seeing the movie, but now we have a few more crumbs to snack on.
As the world premiere inches closer, Netflix released a longer synopsis while Cuarón posted a short clip on Twitter. It’s our first glimpse at his efforts not only as the director of Roma but, as he revealed to Indiewire, he served also as the cinematographer. (His first time in this role for a feature film.) The black-and-white scene features an avalanche of soapy water inundating the tile floor and the sounds of someone scrubbing it clean. Towards the end of the meditative clip, a plane’s reflection appears in the sudsy puddle.
The official synopsis, which includes character names and reveals the primary cast, reads as follows:
“Roma follows a young domestic worker Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) from Mixteco heritage descent and her co-worker Adela (Nancy García García), also Mixteca, who work for a small family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma. Mother of four, Sofia (Marina de Tavira), copes with the extended absence of her husband, Cleo faces her own devastating news that threatens to distract her from caring for Sofia’s children, whom she loves as her own. While trying to construct a new sense of love and solidarity in a context of a social hierarchy where class and race are perversely intertwined, Cleo and Sofia quietly wrestle with changes infiltrating the family home in a country facing confrontation between a government-backed militia and student demonstrators.”
Roma will play theaters and debut on Netflix later this year.