For months, we’ve been talking about Alfonso Cuarón’s upcoming Netflix film “Roma.” At first, the film was the subject of an intense feud between the streaming service and the Cannes Film Festival, where Netflix had hoped the film would compete for the coveted Palm d’Or. However, due to some policy (and French law) issues, “Roma” skipped Cannes and just made its debut at the Venice Film Festival. And guess what? The film is incredible.
Now, with the film on the cusp of a major release on one of the biggest platforms in the world, Cuarón is opening up more about the film, and why Netflix is the best place for it. Basically, he’s not concerned about where people see “Roma,” even though he would prefer the big screen (more on that in a moment), but really its all about people getting the chance to see the film, period.
“One shouldn’t judge when we know about the complexity or reality of film distribution. We know full well that a Spanish drama — indigenous, black and white and not a genre movie — we know this sort of film would have a great deal of difficulty to find space to be shown. I won’t say success, but space. That’s why it’s important to have Netflix… The important thing is that the film has a sort of impact and not to be lost over time. We have to be aware of the fact that this film exists and therefore I’m very grateful for Netflix because they have allowed me to work in this way,” said Cuarón in a new interview with Deadline.
The upcoming fall film slate for Netflix further illustrates what the filmmaker is talking about. It’s not just foreign-language mid-budget films that get the boost from the streaming service. You have films that would have easily been released theatrically in decades previous like Jeremy Saulnier’s “Hold the Dark,” which is getting a prime release on Netflix. Then you have more experimental films like “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” from the Coen Brothers, that would have been way too risky for a major studio to finance.
However, Cuarón warned that for Netflix to be the future of filmmaking, it will have to successfully co-exist with theaters. He continued, “We’re going to live with this format. It’s important the two things exist not clash. It’s just a question of finding something that works.”
The filmmaker also talked about the technical aspects of his upcoming film that should stick out to filmgoers. Cuarón wants to stress that just because his film is set in 1970 Mexico City and is in black & white doesn’t mean it’s going to look retro. He says, “I wanted it to be contemporary black and white and not to work with long shadows like in the 40s and 50s. I wanted digital black and white which is very advanced.”
As for when film fans will get a chance to see “Roma,” that’s still to be determined. We do know that Netflix will release the film on December 16. However, the platform is still up for debate. As we mentioned in a previous report, Cuarón has been pushing for an exclusive theatrical run before the film hits Netflix, with more than just the standard few theaters. However, it could be, like most prestige films from the streaming service, that “Roma” gets a day-and-date release on Netflix, as well as the limited awards-required theatrical run.
Either way, it sounds like film fans will be getting a Cuarón-wrapped present this Holiday season.