Netflix is weird about promoting some things. For instance: Did you know they’ve added a making-of documentary about Roma – the same documentary that’s included with the recent Criterion Collection release of the film? It’s true! But the streaming service, as is their style, has been shy about letting people know. That’s why we’re here, folks – to inform you. You’re welcome.
I sure wish I could figure out just what the heck the marketing strategy for Netflix is. They have no problem plastering banner ads for Love is Blind or whatever other junk reality show they’re currently pushing, but then they go and bury interesting special features. When Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman hit the streaming service, they also released a bonus feature called The Irishman: In Conversation, wherein Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino sat around talking about making the movie. When I pointed this out to several people, every single one of them told me they had no idea that the featurette existed.
Now, Netflix has done it again. You can stream Road to Roma, an hour-plus making-of devoted to Alfonso Cuarón‘s award-winning Roma. And this isn’t just any old making-of – it’s a featurette included on the recent Criterion Collection Blu-ray release. That’s kind of a big deal! You’d think Netflix might want to make more people aware of this.
Anyway, Criterion describes Road to Roma as “a new documentary about the making of the film, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and an interview with Cuarón.” The Netflix description says that in the doc, Cuarón “reflects on the childhood memories, period details, and creative choices that shaped” the film. So if you’re unable to pick up the Criterion release, and want some extra Roma goodness, here’s your chance.
With his eighth and most personal film, Alfonso Cuarón recreated the early-1970s Mexico City of his childhood, narrating a tumultuous period in the life of a middle-class family through the experiences of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio, in a revelatory screen debut), the indigenous domestic worker who keeps the household running. Charged with the care of four small children abandoned by their father, Cleo tends to the family even as her own life is shaken by personal and political upheavals. Written, directed, shot, and coedited by Cuarón, Roma is a labor of love with few parallels in the history of cinema, deploying monumental black-and-white cinematography, an immersive soundtrack, and a mixture of professional and nonprofessional performances to shape its author’s memories into a world of enveloping texture, and to pay tribute to the woman who nurtured him.
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