Brow Beat

Alfonso Cuarón Keeps Us Guessing in the First Teaser for Roma

Film director, screenwriter, producer Alfonso Cuaron speaks during the Alfonso Cuaron Cinema Lesson.
Alfonso Cuarón. Antony Jones/Getty Images

Movie trailers are an art of their own: If you give away too much, you spoil all of the fun of the story, but if you leave out all of the juicy bits, what’s going to make anyone want to see the movie? It’s a delicate dance that not many get right. So, for the teaser for his upcoming film Roma, Academy Award–winning director Alfonso Cuarón decided that he wasn’t even going to play the game.

If you just watched the above video and were convinced that I must have embedded the wrong one, rest easy. The teaser is just a minute straight of the camera fixed on a soapy floor, and that’s all it was meant to be. Cuarón tweeted along with the video, “There are periods in history that scar societies and moments in life that transform us as individuals,” adding a tone of grandeur to what might otherwise have come off as mundane.

The film, which follows one year in the life of a middle-class family and their domestic workers in 1970 Mexico City, has already generated some buzz. For his last feature film, Gravity, Cuarón won the Academy Award for Best Director. Roma was going to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, until a spat between the online streaming platform and the festival head over a policy on theatrical releases resulted in all of Netflix’s films being pulled from the festival.

Controversy notwithstanding, Cuarón’s choice to keep us guessing about what his film will look and feel like is a bold choice, one I sure hope pays off.