Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón’s film Roma has been as controversial as it has been successful. In this film that intentionally and painstakingly recreates his childhood home, neighborhood, time period, and family history, Cuarón cast an unknown nonprofessional of indigenous background, Yalitza Aparicio, to play his own real-life nanny Liboria Rodríguez, to whom the film is dedicated. This talk will consider the extent to which Aparicio’s protagonism may be considered as such, in an active and self-sovereign sense, or whether it is, as many argue, overly restrained by the comparative silence and passivity of her role. Is this representation of Cuarón’s nanny one that is most intelligently critiqued in a positive light as a critique of racialized, class-based, and gendered cultural power structures in the Mexican—and, indeed, metonymically, in the broader Latin American—contexts? Or does Cuarón’s representation of this indigenous female protagonist fall short of its intended celebratory and contestatory mark by perpetuating her marginalization front and center? On an even more abstract level, this talk will contemplate Roma’s treatment of cultural institutions, and how Cuarón is part of a much larger cultural symptomatology of specifically neoliberal institutional critique and post-truth culture.
Co-sponsored by Moving Image Arts and Latin American and Latino Studies.
Part of the Forum on 15: https://huminst.uic.edu/ifth/events/working-groups/Forum-on-15/2018-2019