Criterion Press Release: Roma (Blu-ray)

3 Stars
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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.

FILM INFO

  • Alfonso Cuarón
  • Mexico, United States
  • 2018
  • 135 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.39:1
  • Spanish, Mixtec
  • Spine #1014DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
    • 4K digital master, supervised by director Alfonso Cuarón, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • Road to “Roma,” a new documentary about the making of the film, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and an interview with Cuarón
    • Snapshots from the Set, a new documentary featuring actors Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, producers Gabriela Rodríguez and Nicolás Celis, production designer Eugenio Caballero, casting director Luis Rosales, executive producer David Linde, and others
    • New documentaries about the film’s sound and postproduction processes, featuring Cuarón; Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay, and Craig Henighan from the postproduction sound team; editor Adam Gough; postproduction supervisor Carlos Morales; and finishing artist Steven J. Scott
    • New documentary about the film’s ambitious theatrical campaign and social impact in Mexico, featuring Celis and Rodríguez
    • Nothing at Stake, a new video essay by filmmaker :: kogonada
    • Trailers
    • Alternate French subtitles and Spanish SDH for the film
    • PLUS: Essays by novelist Valeria Luiselli and historian Enrique Krauze, along with (Blu-ray only) writing by author Aurelio Asiain and production-design images with notes by Caballero

    New cover by Neil Kellerhouse

    February 11, 2020

Published by

Kevin Collins

administrator

43 Comments

  1. Holy shit.

    Like many, I expected that Netflix would never surrender their exclusivity on this title in order to allow a physical release to happen.

    Instead, it seems like they have just reserved themselves an extra-long window before allowing a physical release. If this deal is to be used as a template for future titles, then perhaps we would get The Irishman on disc in about February 2021.

    I am very pleased that this release is happening and will get it on street date. I don't even want to wait until the next Criterion sale in order to demonstrate how highly I value this release. Of course, if there happens to be a Criterion sale around the release date, that would be wonderful, but if not, I'll pay street date prices for this.

  2. dpippel

    Unless I'm mistaken, this will be Criterion's first Atmos track, correct?

    Yes!

    When Sam Posten and I did our interview with Criterion earlier this year, they actually announced it to us in the interview as their first Atmos release.

    We then got a phone call a few days later to have that deleted from the Podcast. You may have heard the abrupt cut that we had to do if you listened to the interview. They did not want to have it announced at that time.

  3. battlebeast

    I too am very happy. I’m glad Criterion worked out a deal with NETFLIX.

    Makes me happy to know that if THE IRISHMAN is nominated, I’ll be able to get it on disc (hopefully).

    This was my reaction as well because I was lucky enough to see The Irishman last night in the theater and it was absolutely tremendous. I don't think I would want to live in a world where it wouldn't have a physical media release, so this gives me hope.

  4. Ronald Epstein

    Yes!

    When Sam Posten and I did our interview with Criterion earlier this year, they actually announced it to us in the interview as their first Atmos release.

    We then got a phone call a few days later to have that deleted from the Podcast. You may have heard the abrupt cut that we had to do if you listened to the interview. They did not want to have it announced at that time.

    Interesting! This makes me wonder (but not too hard) if 4K UHD releases from Criterion could be very far behind?

  5. There are many…MANY excellent Netflix-made movies that have so far been held hostage when it comes to Blu-ray release. OKJA, MUDBOUND, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, the list continues to grow. If Criterion can save these from Streaming Hell, I applaud and will support their efforts. I have been extremely critical of Netflix about its policy of restricting its best movies to streaming only, so I will offer credit where it is due, and say "Thank you," for at least tossing us a bone. But please keep in mind…we're very hungry.

  6. dpippel

    Interesting! This makes me wonder (but not too hard) if 4K UHD releases from Criterion could be very far behind?

    It's been said to be unlikely unless they stop DVDs, and there is booklet content exclusive to the BD for Roma. Don't know if that's a first, but it's uncommon. Might speak to their DVD editions, might not.

  7. Vegas 1

    Have not seen Roma, so I take it the film will benefit from an Atmos track?

    Yes. The sound design is one of the most incredible things about it. Last year, my arthouse installed a new 7.1 surround sound system (rather than the 5.1 they had before) during the week prior to its release specifically to be able to show it in 7.1. I'm pretty sure it was Atmos there too, but couldn't swear to it. I'm not a huge audiophile, but I sat there and thought, "Damn, this sounds amazing." It was one of the only times I can think of where I actually concentrated on the sound as being one of the highlights of the film. Not to say that sounds in other films aren't great too, but usually they don't drive my attention specifically to that element. In this case, Roma absolutely did.

    Mark-P

    I'll hold out for a 4K release that I can own.

    I understand your desire to have it in 4K, but what makes you think a 4K release will actually be in the offering in the future? It's a small miracle, at least in the world of home video, that Netflix agreed to license this to Criterion in the first place. I highly doubt that it will also be licensed to another distributor for 4K release, and Criterion isn't currently doing 4K releases. You're under no obligation to buy it, but personally, I'm looking at this release as an unexpected gift. I wouldn't lick a gift horse in the mouth, personally.

  8. Jake Lipson

    I understand your desire to have it in 4K, but what makes you think a 4K release will actually be in the offering in the future? It's a small miracle, at least in the world of home video, that Netflix agreed to license this to Criterion in the first place. I highly doubt that it will also be licensed to another distributor for 4K release, and Criterion isn't currently doing 4K releases. You're under no obligation to buy it, but personally, I'm looking at this release as an unexpected gift. I wouldn't lick a gift horse in the mouth, personally.

    I have zero expectations that there will be a 4K release. But what is the point of having a 2K BD sitting on my shelf while I watch the film in 4K on Netflix? If it disappears from Netflix and I have no 4K option, then maybe I’ll consider buying this release.

  9. Mark-P

    But what is the point of having a 2K BD sitting on my shelf while I watch the film in 4K on Netflix.

    Good point, but that's not what you brought up in your previous post. Personally, I'm also really excited to have the extras, none of which are on Netflix as far as I know.

  10. Dick

    There are many…MANY excellent Netflix-made movies that have so far been held hostage when it comes to Blu-ray release. OKJA, MUDBOUND, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, the list continues to grow. If Criterion can save these from Streaming Hell, I applaud and will support their efforts. I have been extremely critical of Netflix about its policy of restricting its best movies to streaming only, so I will offer credit where it is due, and say "Thank you," for at least tossing us a bone. But please keep in mind…we're very hungry.

    I don't really get Netflix's refusal to put out all their stuff on discs.

    Yes, I understand the belief that exclusive content = viewers, but eventually, that exclusive content will cease to be much of a draw.

    Is anyone joining Netflix in November 2019 to see "Roma"? Probably not.

    Seems like they could adapt the theatrical model for their programs: promise subscribers each will stay exclusive for, say, 6 months and then make the material available elsewhere…

  11. Vegas 1

    Have not seen Roma, so I take it the film will benefit from an Atmos track?

    Yes it will. This film has one of the most outstanding soundtracks I have ever heard. Not to mention, it is one of the finest films I have seen in many years.;

  12. Traveling Matt

    It's been said to be unlikely unless they stop DVDs, and there is booklet content exclusive to the BD for Roma. Don't know if that's a first, but it's uncommon. Might speak to their DVD editions, might not.

    They’ve done booklet content exclusive to the Blu before.

  13. Yeah, they've had quite a few Blu-ray booklets with more content than the DVDs. They also have been doing a few more Blu-ray only upgrades/re-releases (i.e., Haxan didn't get an upgraded DVD) or releases (Showa Godzilla, Bergman box set) and OOP DVD box sets staying OOP but getting Blu-ray releases (3 Silent Classics, The BRD Trilogy)

  14. Serious thought: I'm not advocating for them to stop releasing movies by any means, but I would think that Criterion, in particular, would be getting the vast majority of its sales from Blu-ray editions at this point. My friends who haven't made the jump to Blu-ray and are still using DVDs are not serious film fans. They probably don't even know what the Criterion Collection even is. The number of film fans who are passionate enough to care about the getting the top-of-the-line editions that Criterion puts out, but also don't care about having content in high definition, is probably minuscule.

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  16. It's funny — when I was searching for Roma on Amazon earlier in the day, before Ron's link went up, the Criterion edition of Fellini's Roma came up. Is this the first time that they've had two totally unrelated films sharing the same title both in the collection? Obviously they're both very deserving of the spots, but especially considering how selective Criterion is about what titles they choose, it's a funny coincidence that two would have the same name.

  17. Colin Jacobson

    I don't really get Netflix's refusal to put out all their stuff on discs.

    Yes, I understand the belief that exclusive content = viewers, but eventually, that exclusive content will cease to be much of a draw.

    Is anyone joining Netflix in November 2019 to see "Roma"? Probably not.

    Seems like they could adapt the theatrical model for their programs: promise subscribers each will stay exclusive for, say, 6 months and then make the material available elsewhere…

    That would certainly be logical, and an everybody-wins scenario.

    I have been of the belief that Netflix simply wants total control over availability. Isn't this what studios have wanted ever since the dawn of home video…limiting opportunities for illegal copying and distribution? But maintaining this control also means that a potentially huge home video market with its potentially huge profits is limited if it means offering their films only via streaming. I do not stream movies to watch them through a 25" monitor while I sit at my computer. I want to watch them on my 65" OLED while lounging in a recliner. However, if I hook that "smart" t.v. to the internet in order to stream, say, THE IRISHMAN,, eyes are on my viewing habits constantly by corporations who want to gather information. And by hackers. This is not paranoia…even when these t.v.'s are turned off, they are silently recording us, as long as they're connected:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/securi…ou-watching-tv-consumer-reports-finds-n845456

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-keep-your-smart-tv-from-spying-on-you/

    I absolutely refuse to allow this. I refuse to engage in Facebook and Twitter and Instagram for the same reasons. Enough of my privacy has been compromised during the past 20 years by the NSA and god knows who else. Those social media things I actually still have control over. Thus, I have been very upset that Netflix isn't offering at least an eventual physical disc option. Until this Criterion announcement. Yes, I could see THE IRISHMAN being released the way ROMA will soon be, but what about all the other Netflix movies not nominated for Oscars, made by dynamic directors such as the Coens, Joon-ho Bong, etc.?

    In any case, I get that a lot of people won't agree with me or will think I'm overreacting. They're welcome to their opinions. I am welcome to mine.

  18. David Wilkins

    This seems to offer hope for other Netflix titles. If Criterion releases ‘The Ballad of Buster Skruggs’, I will dance in public.

    I think it mainly offers a potential sigh of relief related to "Irishman".

    Netflix has released some of their content to disc – I have no idea what their process is when it comes to deciding what stays streaming and what comes out as a physical product…

  19. Interestingly, according to Blu-ray.com, Roma is pretty much getting a worldwide release

    *The Criterion Blu-ray (and DVD) edition of Roma will be available worldwide and distributed by Criterion (U.S.), Unobstructed View (Canada), Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (UK/Ireland), and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Mexico, France, Italy, Germany and other select international territories).

    Jake Lipson

    Serious thought: I'm not advocating for them to stop releasing movies by any means, but I would think that Criterion, in particular, would be getting the vast majority of its sales from Blu-ray editions at this point.

    A couple years back, they said that they tended to sell 60% Blu-ray and 40% DVD.

    Jake Lipson

    It's funny — when I was searching for Roma on Amazon earlier in the day, before Ron's link went up, the Criterion edition of Fellini's Roma came up. Is this the first time that they've had two totally unrelated films sharing the same title both in the collection?

    Setting aside stuff like The Killers and The Lower Depths (releases that have more than one adaptation and/or an original and its remake), they have released two different Weekends (Godard and Haigh), two different Dreams (Kurosawa and Bergman), two different Lolas (Demy and Fassbinder), and two different Something Wilds (Demme and Garfein

    Not exactly the same title, but they also have A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger) & The Canterbury Tales (Passolini) and a Traffic (Soderbergh) & Trafic (Tati)

  20. usrunnr

    Yes it will. This film has one of the most outstanding soundtracks I have ever heard. Not to mention, it is one of the finest films I have seen in many years.;

    I agree with you re ROMA being one of the finest films seen in many years.I watched it twice on Netflix. It was a film that deserves to be seen by anyone who has a passion for cinema.. Such a pity that great films don't make a huge amount of money at the box office but garbage like JOKER make unbelievable amounts. No guessing in which film will be remembered long after JOKER has been forgotten.

  21. Derrick King

    Interestingly, according to Blu-ray.com, Roma is pretty much getting a worldwide release

    A couple years back, they said that they tended to sell 60% Blu-ray and 40% DVD.

    Setting aside stuff like The Killers and The Lower Depths (releases that have more than one adaptation and/or an original and its remake), they have released two different Weekends (Godard and Haigh), two different Dreams (Kurosawa and Bergman), two different Lolas (Demy and Fassbinder), and two different Something Wilds (Demme and Garfein

    Not exactly the same title, but they also have A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger) & The Canterbury Tales (Passolini) and a Traffic (Soderbergh) & Trafic (Tati)

    CRITERION (U.S) and (U.K.) blurays and dvds are NOT available to buy world wide. Criterion WILL NOT post any of their items overseas-strictly for USA buyers only. Probably the same for Criterion (U.K.). This has been a problem in dealing with Criterion and they DO NOT give a damn. So where did you get the notion that they post world-wide? The only way to have a Criterion release posted overseas is to buy from another seller.

  22. cinemiracle

    CRITERION (U.S) and (U.K.) blurays and dvds are NOT available to buy world wide. Criterion WILL NOT post any of their items overseas-strictly for USA buyers only. Probably the same for Criterion (U.K.). This has been a problem in dealing with Criterion and they DO NOT give a damn. So where did you get the notion that they post world-wide? The only way to have a Criterion release posted overseas is to buy from another seller.

    Well, if you read what he wrote, Criterion has the US distribution rights, Unobstructed View (Canada), Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (UK/Ireland), and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Mexico, France, Italy, Germany and other select international territories). Didn't say anything about Criterion posting world-wide.

  23. battlebeast

    I too am very happy. I’m glad Criterion worked out a deal with NETFLIX.

    Makes me happy to know that if THE IRISHMAN is nominated, I’ll be able to get it on disc (hopefully).

    There could be and probably will be changes to the way Netflix conducts business with the competition from the many new streaming services. Netflix is leaving to much money on the table by not releasing their movies to theaters and on BluRay/DVD. Netflix has pretty much owned streaming but that all changed with Disney+ and very soon Warner. It will be very interesting to see how Netflix adjusts to the competition.

  24. battlebeast

    I too am very happy. I’m glad Criterion worked out a deal with NETFLIX.

    Makes me happy to know that if THE IRISHMAN is nominated, I’ll be able to get it on disc (hopefully).

    There could be and probably will be changes to the way Netflix conducts business with the competition from the many new streaming services. Netflix is leaving to much money on the table by not releasing their movies to theaters and on BluRay/DVD. Netflix has pretty much owned streaming but that all changed with Disney+ and very soon Warner. It will be very interesting to see how Netflix adjusts to the competition.

  25. titch

    Well, if you read what he wrote, Criterion has the US distribution rights, Unobstructed View (Canada), Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (UK/Ireland), and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Mexico, France, Italy, Germany and other select international territories). Didn't say anything about Criterion posting world-wide.

    To clarify, Unobstructed View does not have Canadian rights to Roma; they merely have a deal to distribute Criterion discs exclusively in Canada. Criterion owns the disc rights for all of North America.

  26. titch

    Well, if you read what he wrote, Criterion has the US distribution rights, Unobstructed View (Canada), Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (UK/Ireland), and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Mexico, France, Italy, Germany and other select international territories). Didn't say anything about Criterion posting world-wide.

    To clarify, Unobstructed View does not have Canadian rights to Roma; they merely have a deal to distribute Criterion discs exclusively in Canada. Criterion owns the disc rights for all of North America.

  27. Perhaps Criterion asked for 4k release rights and were refused. Otherwise it would have been a good choice for their first UHD release. It's disappointing that so few 4k discs are being released when there are good elements available.

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