Straight from the heart of Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men), this glorious reminiscence of a momentous year is a sumptuous black-and-white ode to the woman who shaped his early life.
Dir-Scr Alfonso Cuarón
Prod Gabriela Rodriguez, Alfonso Cuarón, Nicolás Celis
With Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira
UK Distribution Netflix
Mexico City, 1970. Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) is a live-in domestic worker of Mixteco heritage. She is employed by middle-class mother of four Sofía (Marina de Tavira), who struggles to cope with the extended absence of her doctor husband. Cleo loves the children as if they are her own, but her duties leave little time for her to have an independent life. That’s the premise of this personal project by master filmmaker Cuarón (who wrote, produced, directed, shot and co-edited the film). Every detail is thoughtful and painstakingly recreated; aided by production designer Eugenio Caballero, Cuarón reveals this era of Mexico City as a place teeming with vibrant life, from its cinema and music to the brewing radicalism of the political scene. They conjure a tantalisingly specific moment, with the space race unfolding overhead as class violence and student radicalism erupt on the streets. But this is also very much a film about the home, a place of women and children, with the domestic space revealing much about cultural attitudes to class, race and gender relationships. Throughout, the densely textured sound design adds another layer to both narrative and mood – close your eyes and you will know your location in every space. Luminous, heart-wrenching and ultimately life-affirming, this is Cuarón’s love letter to Cleo and the women who raised him with love and tenderness.
See also Screen Talk: Alfonso Cuarón
The introduction and Q&A will be BSL interpreted at the screening on Sat 13 Oct.