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Alfonso Cuarón on the Painful and Poetic Backstory Behind ‘Roma’


By Kristopher Tapley


More than a decade ago, shortly after wrapping his 2006 dystopian drama “Children of Men,” director Alfonso Cuarón seized upon the idea of making an autobiographical film based on his childhood. Previously, he had worked on various screenplays that obliquely dealt with his upbringing through stories of families falling apart or the absence of a father — tribulations that he himself had endured at a young age. But it took some time before the specificity of his memories would finally coalesce in his latest movie, “Roma,” re-created with painstaking emotion, detail and precision.

“I think I wanted to understand, to put the pieces together,” Cuarón says, speaking to Variety on a whirlwind day of promoting the film ahead of its New York Film Festival premiere. “[Jorge Luis] Borges talks about how memory is an opaque, shattered mirror, but I see it more as a crack in the wall. The crack is whatever pain happened in the past. We tend to put several coats of paint over it, trying to cover that crack. But it’s still there.” Read more