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Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘ROMA’ Selected as 2018 NYFF Centerpiece Screening, Gets Official Synopsis

The much-anticipated "autobiographically inspired" feature will have its New York premiere at the lauded fall festival.


Courtesy of Carlos Somonte / Netflix

Alfonso Cuarón’s long-gestating “ROMA,” his first film since the filmmaker won Best Director at the Oscars four years ago for his “Gravity,” will make its New York premiere at this year’s 56th New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, as the fall festival’s Centerpiece film. The new film will screen at Alice Tully Hall on Friday, October 5, during the midpoint of the festival, which runs September 28 – October 14.

“I am honored ‘ROMA’ has been selected for the Centerpiece slot at this year’s New York Film Festival,” said Cuarón in an official statement. “NYFF has a longstanding history of celebrating meaningful and compelling filmmaking and it felt right to return to the festival with ‘ROMA’ — an incredibly personal, illuminating, and transformative project for me.”

Cuarón wrapped production on the film last May, and during a press conference in support of the project, he explained, “Returning to my country with this specific project was something very personal, because we made a film set in the ’70s, with many elements and experiences of my childhood,” the director told press. He referred to the film as “quite a universal story.”

The filmmaker has kept mostly tight-lipped about the production, but today’s NYFF announcement includes the feature’s first official synopsis, which reads:

“In Alfonso Cuarón’s autobiographically inspired film, set in Mexico City in the early ’70s, we are placed within the physical and emotional terrain of a middle-class family whose center is quietly and unassumingly held by its beloved live-in nanny and housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio). The cast is uniformly magnificent, but the real star of ‘ROMA’ is the world itself, fully present and vibrantly alive, from sudden life-changing events to the slightest shifts in mood and atmosphere. Cuarón tells us an epic story of everyday life while also gently sweeping us into a vast cinematic experience, in which time and space breathe and majestically unfold. Shot in breathtaking black and white and featuring a sound design that represents something new in the medium, ‘ROMA’ is a truly visionary work.”

Of the addition of the film to NYFF’s slate, New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said in an official statement, “I was absolutely stunned by ‘ROMA’ from beginning to end — by the craftsmanship and the artistry of everyone involved, by the physical power and gravitational force of the images, by the realization that I was seeing something magical: a story of ongoing life grounded within the immensity and mystery of just being here on this planet. Alfonso Cuarón’s film is a wonder.”

Netflix will launch the film globally as well as distribute it theatrically around the world, though a release date has not yet been announced. It was produced by Participant Media and Esperanto Filmoj.

Tickets for the 56th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 9.

You can watch an IndieWire exclusive sneak peak at the behind-the-scenes making of “ROMA” below.

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