Few films use a city as one more character. In Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, it is much more than that. The city is the protagonist that accompanies Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) during her experiences and her life. It serves as a blanket that envelops her and defines her in more ways than she imagines. Cuarón made the perfect portrait of Mexico City and some places around it based on his memories, helping us remember what things were like before, to see how the world has changed since then. Here we’ll show you those places he featured and the ways in which they have been transformed, merging into the landscape of Mexico City.
Maybe now that the film is such a hit, the facade of Tepeji 21 will become a sightseeing spot for fans of the film. According to Forbes, Cuarón only used the facade of the house, since the interior had to be reconstructed. The door does not look that different, but in the film it looks closer to the one in Cuarón’s memories.
The Metropolitan Theater
Before becoming the Metropolitan Theater, the venue located on Avenida Independencia 90, was a very popular cinema. It opened in 1943 with the film Sixteen Years, and in Roma, we see a showing of The Ratchet Sister. In 1985, it stopped operating as a cinema to became a theater and is currently one of the most important music venues in Mexico City.
Cinema of the Americas / BlackBerry Auditorium
At the corner of Av. Insurgentes and Baja California, The Cinema of the Americas opened in 1952 and was full of commercial spaces. Shortly after the year in which Roma takes place, the establishment became a casino, and now, for the last 10 years, it’s been the Blackberry Auditorium, a place where concerts and different types of events are held.
The former National Medical Center opened in 1961, and since then, it’s been the largest and most important health institution in the nation. Currently, it is called Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI and has changed a lot since the post-earthquake reconstruction of 1985 and the addition of new units.
Officially called the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Insurgent National Park, La Marquesa appears in the film when the family goes to the hacienda of some friends to spend the holidays at the end of the year. As it is a National Park, no modifications have been made and it remains one of the cleanest places in the Mexican Republic.
La Casa del Pavo
Founded in 1901, this establishment on Motolinía street in the center of Mexico City is quite simple, but its legacy has been eternal. They sell the most famous “tortas” (sandwiches) in the area, and they are the city’s turkey experts. In the film, it appears briefly with its old facade, which has not changed that much. Surely, it will continue operating for a long time.
Another place that appears in the movie, on the outskirts of Mexico City, is Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl. That’s where Cleo looks for Fermín, and that’s where he trains. It is said that the government sought men from similar marginalized communities to be trained and serve as pawns in their attacks on students. In the film, we also see tons of political propaganda for the ruling party. That part of the State of Mexico was one of the worst developed, riddled by corruption scandals and neglect.
Watching Roma is not only a cinematic experience, but also a personal one for Mexicans who know the places where the characters appear. We see relate to and identify with the story, as well as the environment that surrounds us and defines us. That’s what makes it so perfect.
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