Roma

The director of the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban also directed which of the following movies?

Considering The Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight, Roma, and A Beautiful Mind, the answer is: Roma.    

Photo credit: Carlos Somonte. 

The 2018 Mexican semi-autobiographical movie written, directed, and produced by Alfonso Cuarón is set in the 1970s in Mexico City. It follows the life of Cleo, a live-in housekeeper for a middle-class family, played by Yalitza Aparicio. A school teacher with no prior formal acting experience, Aparicio became the first indigenous woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Seeking to honor the housekeeper from his childhood in Roma, Mexico, Cuarón focused his film around the experience of live-in maid, Cleo. Yet, Cuarón drew from many other experiences in his life to create the Oscar nominated film. In fact, he reports:

"Ninety percent of the scenes represented in the film are scenes taken out of my memory. Sometimes directly, sometimes a bit more obliquely. It’s about a moment of time that shaped me, but also a moment of time that shaped a country. It was the beginning of a long transition in Mexico."

Cuarón is a creator whose life experiences deeply inform his work. As such, Roma isn't his first semi-autobiographical film— the director's 2001 film Y Tu Mamá También grows out of his life as a teenager in Mexico. What's more: Cuarón uses these experiences to dictate how the movie is ultimately created, and with whom. The search for the leads in Roma took months, as Cuarón sought to find actors who embodied the characteristics of the individuals he wanted to portray. Cuarón claims:

"The thing with every single character was that they are people I know very well. I wanted the actors to physically look as much like the real people as possible. But not only look like them, I wanted them to have the same qualities."

Finally, the right actors were found... in the most unsuspecting places. Yalitza Aparicio was training to be a teacher when her sister convinced her to go to the open audition for Roma. She had never acted before, but Cuarón was struck by her natural stage presence and chemistry with her best friend. Cuarón even cast her best friend to play Cleo's best friend in Roma, so that Aparicio would feel more comfortable. Ultimately, Roma reeled in 10 Oscar nominations, and two wins in 2018.




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