How Shopping for a Crib Turns Violent in Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’

How Shopping for a Crib Turns Violent in Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’

December 14, 2018

In “Anatomy of a Scene,” we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into making key scenes in their movies. See new episodes in the series each Friday. You can also watch our collection of more than 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Personal emotions intersect with national ones in “Roma,” the Mexican writer-director Alfonso Cuarón’s interpretation of his 1970s childhood. In this scene, the pregnant protagonist, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), goes to a furniture store to shop for a crib. On her way, she passes a student demonstration on the Mexico City streets and, while she’s in the store, a paramilitary group attacks the demonstrators, an episode based on the 1971 Corpus Christi massacre when students were killed at a protest.

Narrating the sequence, Cuarón discusses what it took to pull it together, which meant working with hundreds of extras and rehearsing the intricacies of the scene weeks ahead of time on a football field.

Read Manohla Dargis’s review of “Roma.”

Read an interview with Alfonso Cuarón.

Watch the film’s star Yalitza Aparicio in a short dance film.

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