Alfonso Cuarón Was Forced To Confront His Own Family’s History Of Thier Maid While Making ‘Roma’
“Roma” is a classic in the hearts of millions of fans who saw themselves on screen. For Latinos, the movie represents a glimpse of our rich history, the divide of social classes, and a story that deserves to be told. For cinephiles, the film is a work of art directed by one of the best directors of all time. But the story and film are two separate things. It’s a multilayered entity that we are still uncovering today, the hallmark of a classic as it will evolve to stay relevant.
Director Alfonso Cuarón said he began working on “Roma” 12 years ago.
In an interview with Daily Mail, Cuarón said that he wanted to make a movie about his maid/nanny more than a decade ago. He wasn’t sure how the project or film would take shape, but he knew that he wanted to tell the story of Libo Rodriguez and how she raised Cuarón and his siblings.
This is something Cuarón as always been transparent about in many interviews. The focus of the film, as he has admitted, was to bring out the story of his family and maid in an authentic and honest portrayal.
Four years ago, Cuarón said he asked Libo if he could interview for his project, which, at the time, he called “The Book Of Hours.”
“The first part was going through her routine, and it was almost a forensic account,” he told the publication. “All the detail was there, like how she would sit on the bed and wake up one of my siblings. We were talking about the bubble I was aware of. The house and my neighborhood.”
Their conversation back then covered everything that she did for them from showing them love, to cleaning up after them, to having “the talk.”
“She was like my parent, and you don’t question your parents about such things,” he said.
Going through these conversations, Cuarón realized the privilege he had by having Libo in his life.
He said he felt immense guilt about their treatment toward her. The film ended up being a way to show his gratitude while also repairing what was broken.
“On the one hand, we’re saying: ‘We love you!” But go and wash the clothes, and bring me a smoothie.” He went on to say, “She had hardships in her life. Hunger when she was a child. And the cold. My experience of hunger then was ‘Oh, we’re late for lunch.'”
“The wound is part of who you are,” he said, “It’s like repairing a crack in a wall. Or, better, mending broken pottery. It’s about repairing yourself. And the end product is more beautiful than the original.”
Cuarón honest depiction of this relationship has stirred emotions within Mexico. The sudden rise in stardom for Yalitza Aparicio forced many in the country to reckon with the ideas around indigenous and non-white Mexicans.