Roma from Alfonso Cuarón was for me the most anticipated movie of 2018. Mostly because its other movie, Y tu mamá también, is so far the best movie I ever saw. Imagine, how excited you need to be, before seeing the director’s third movie made in Mexico.
The film was screened in the German cinema’s only one week before it was officialy streamed on Netflix. This was the reason, why the owners of the arthouse cinemas decided to boycotte the movie and didn’t took it in it’s regular programm. This is how Roma ended up being screened only in little more than 30 locations, and mostly as a special event. It’s a really low number for a German market and doesn’t reflect the importance of the movie. Here’s the link with the cinemas, which played Roma (in German): http://www.filmstarts.de/nachrichten/18522180.html. Over the weeks, some smaller cinemas, which normally wouldn’t get such movie so quickly, also started to show it. But still, it wasn’t something spectacular. It’s a real pitty because the movie is perfect to be seen on a big screen. I was amazed by the sound and sound effects. It was a first drama I saw with an amazing dolby atmos experience.
The cinema auditorium was full. Until the last seat in a first raw. If you know that there are only two screenings in a week and it’s possible, that this cinema won’t play Roma next week, then you do everything to get this ticket. The audience was also really diverse: Mexicans and Spanish-speaking people, cinemagoers which can’t see a movie without eating a popcorn and artists inspired by the arthouse movie. Netflix might have changed his distribution slightly in the USA, to be taken into account in an Oscar race, but it didn’t do it for a German market. I guess it wasn’t so important for them.
Personally, I find Roma a beautiful movie but not so impacting like Y tu mama también. It was a Cold War which impressed me more and I think that it’s fair to compare between these two movies, which one was better: both black and white, both personal and both about the countries of its respective directors. But it’s only my opinion. Roma is important for the Mexican cinematography,a lot of critics and cinephiles around the world and apart from the story, its execution and the whole buzz caused by its distribution, there’s also another interesting part: marketing.
The whole movie was shot black and white but the name of the movie was always shown in gold. We always see Roma as a golden sign and associate it with its special font – always the same. As it is a very personal movie about Mexico, there must have been a reason why not only Mexican people should see this movie. Cinephiles would do it anyway, Cuarón belongs to important directors and his movies are always masterpieces. But how to convince the others? First, the buzz caused by Netflix and second, a personal message from the director itself which was posted on Instagram. He explains, how Roma should connect with our past, memories and above all, how we should share it. Some of these memories are even posted on Roma’s official Instagram account. #Myroma or #miroma in Spanish is a really great marketing move to convince people that they can watch it even though they don’t know anything about Mexico.
Instagram is a really important part of the Roma’s marketing instruments. Kept in black and white, highlights only the golden title. It also shares some videos of people sharing their personal memories, as the #myroma inspired to do it. Well, I can imagine that although the people and their stories are really different, its all a part of well-planned strategy. Under #myroma one won’t find any real personal vidoes inspired and uploaded because of the movie. However, it’s reach of pictures from different events dedicated to Roma and from time to time, snapshots of the Italian capital. In this moment, it’s also interesting to notice, that the title doesn’t confuse people. The title and its director, as well as the adjective “mexican” were always mentioned together and I guess no one even didn’t need to think, whether Roma might be an Italian movie. Alfonso Cuarón (or PR Team but in this case I do believe that he doesn’t let others to decide easily, which picture to post on his Instagram account) on his part uploads pictures from the movie. Each picture is carefully chosen, beautiful in its own frame and telling some part of the story. Most of them are described simply as “Discovering Roma”, of course also in Spanish: “Descubriendo Roma”. Some of them are posted because of the occasion (for example a photo with Christmas wishes) and some of them commented with one or few words. It just makes you want to discover more. Another Instagram treat? The recent reposts from Guillermo del Toros Twitter account with his thoughts on Roma.
Events. Everyone likes to see glamorous pictures from the movie premieres. They were all posted also on Instagram but we can say, that move premiere is rather a standard marketing instrument. Yes, however you’d like to think about it, it’s marketing. And Roma didn’t have only premiere, it also had a whole event called Roma experience: an event with panels and discussions about the movie. Recently, the movie was supported by special screenings and the media didn’t forget to mention, that stars like Charlize Theron or Angelina Jolie were among the guests attending these screenings. In comparison, while Cold War does quite well on Instagram (but without surprises) it loses a lot comparing to how much money is invested in the events to promote Roma.
Another way to make people talk? Billie Eilish and her song inspired by the movie: When I was older. It couldn’t have been more direct.
The love for Roma started in Venice (yeah, Cannes, you lost the important part in Roma’s success) and everyone is waiting to see, what the Academy thinks not only about the movie but also its distribution. One can see, that all the activities taken now has one goal: Academy Award for the Best Picture. It’s not only the story but also all the buzz around it, which makes the movie interesting and important, forcing all the players in the movie industry to start thinking outside the box.