Roma ★★★★½

Oddly enough the film this now calls to mind for me -- despite its tone being impossibly different -- is Playtime, which I hadn't seen yet back in early 2019 (nor had I seen Andrei Rublev, a much more obvious formal reference point). Tati's camera, like Cuarón's, refuses to escort the eye through the frame. I suppose there's a case to be made that the parade of extremely elaborate long takes that populate the film just constitute someone showing off, to which I say: cool, more of that please. It's minimalist in enough ways that the vivid splendor of its mise en scene can justify their supposed indulgence. Getting annoyed about it is like getting annoyed with Wes Anderson: please, successful filmmakers, be less imaginative and have less of a distinct voice, thx. The movie looks great and, even though the script strikes a couple of notes that feel unnatural (the coincidence of Fermin's reemergence and Cleo's revelation about the baby still stick in my craw a little), this was even more emotionally wrenching after going through the supplements and seeing how meticulous a recreation of the director's actual past this was. I still just can't get over that incredible career has sprung from the Great Expectations adaptation no one else liked that I fell in love with alone in my room in high school 20+ years ago. And now the guy has four Oscars. (Should've bagged the big one for this, though.)

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