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

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Jake Lipson

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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.
 
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Ronald Epstein

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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.
 

Mark VH

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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.
 
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dpippel

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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?
 
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Angelo Colombus

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I hope this is a good sign that besides Roma Netflix will release Welles's The Other Side of the Wind. Will check out Roma when my library gets it.
 

Dick

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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.
 

Traveling Matt

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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.
 

Mark-P

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Let's see, 4K on Netflix, but HD only for Criterion. I'll hold out for a 4K release that I can own.
 

Jake Lipson

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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.

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.
 
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Mark-P

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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.
 
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Jake Lipson

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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.
 

Colin Jacobson

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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...
 
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