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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Appreciating Roma

Do streaming services fall short of movie theaters?

It’s Friday evening, and movie posters shine brightly  — almost saying, “Watch me!” as moviegoers wait in line for their tickets. The familiar pore-clogging scent of buttered popcorn can’t be masked by even the strongest perfume but the popcorn itself pairs well with a refreshing Coca-Cola. After taking a photo of your ticket stub for your Instagram story, you await the full cinematic experience — a feeling the couch at home can’t quite recreate.

Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón, in “Roma” depicts the intricate and unspoken divide between class and family in 1970s Mexico in the midst of political conflict. The film was released on Nov. 21 in select theatres and was released on Netflix shortly after on Dec. 12. That being said, I recommend watching the film in theatres.

The black and white film captures outstanding images of the life of Cleo, portrayed by Yalitza Aparicio. These images can’t be fully appreciated on a small screen. The richness of the film production captivates the audience in a multitude of settings. The cinematography provides stimulating camera angles that are constantly moving, producing an effect as if the audience is watching through their own curiously gazing eyes. The natural landscape of Central Mexico, the bustling of the city and the serenity of the beach are presented in their respective majesties.

The size disparity between the movie screen and a laptop screen is the most obvious experiential disparity. The images in the film are like a “Where’s Waldo?” book because there is so much to take in, which makes the theatre the more immersive experience. Laptops don’t encourage immersion because one can pause and rewind after getting distracted on their phone.

The surround sound in theatres completes the experience, bringing the characters’ emotions that much closer.

I agree, Netflix has its advantages. It’s well-suited for on-the-go viewing or binge-watching at home for the entire weekend, but all great things have their limits. Sometimes, a night on the town to the big screen is in order. In terms of cost effectiveness, Netflix is more bang for your buck, but quantity isn’t always better than quality.  

“Roma” is a quintessential example of why the cinema is not going anywhere. Films like this are worth paying to see in theaters because they foster an appreciation for film that is only achieved in a setting designed for film watching. Next time, trade the comfort of your couch for red reclining seats and greasy popcorn.

Written by: Josh Madrid – arts@theaggie.org

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