Anatomy of Roma - Jannah and Valeria
Jannah: The introduction of this scene starts with the camera facing towards the back of Cleo in the car approaching a walking crowd. You’re not aware of what exactly is going on at first. You’re able to see beyond Cleo and the driver and realize that there’s a peaceful protest going on. The camera then cuts and shows Cleo She says “look there leaving.” and Teresa says while reading her newspaper, I hope they don’t get beat again. This goes to show Cleo’s urgent needs for her baby and explains why it wasn’t much of a reaction in the beginning for none of them. It appears that this has already happened before.
Valeria: The camera is now at eye level as Cleo and Teresa get out of the car. On the right we can see people painting a sign, indicating that they’re getting ready to join the protest. The chanting is still going on in the background. This scene transitions to Multiple guards on duty and stations in their trucks. The director purposefully used this scene to show the guards but to also show Cleo calmly walking towards the store. Dolly Tracking is used to capture Cleo and Teresa in between the Military vehicles. While they’re walking you can hear protestors singing the Mexican national anthem. Most of the guards are seen on duty standing lazily and smoking cigarettes.
Jannah: The camera focuses on a building with letters in the window from a low far shot. In front of the building, You can see guards standing readily by the protesters. The scene then cuts to the camera looking from one of the particular windows. It takes the viewer from such a busy scene to the viewer trying to look through the window. The black and white setting makes the scene seem serene, making the viewers not aware of what the protesters are feeling.
Valeria: Then a new image wipes off the precious image, now focusing on some clocks inside a display case and we can see their reflections on the glass as they move.
Jannah: Dolly tracking is used as they are walking towards the crib, the camera starts to pan, the lady is walking away and the people are seen peacefully shopping. Cleo and Teresa’s conversation fades away and is replaced by gunshots and yelling that’s coming from outside.
Valeria: A random man enters the store and runs to the window to see what’s happening and everyone at the store follows him, everyone looks confused. The camera slowly pans to show us what they’re looking at, people running and chaos happening everywhere.
Jannah: We then see how Teresa and Cleo are looking through the window in shock and their expression changes when they hear two strangers asking for help. You notice Teresa immediately protecting Cleo by moving her behind her. The frame changes to the camera focusing on the two people screaming for help. We can see the characters in the background hugging and whispering amongst each other since they don’t know what’s happening.
Valeria: We don’t know what this couple did or why the armed people are looking for them but you can feel the tension and fear through the screen. While the camera was focused on the armed people the couple tried to hide in a closet but the bad guys found them. As the bad guys open the door, a gun appears in front of the camera covering part of the frame, but it still lets you see what’s happening behind, as the camera zooms out we see who was holding the gun, Fermin.
Jannah: The shot cuts to Teresa and Cleo, Teresa is praying because she doesn’t know who the man is while Cleo is just standing there speechless watching the father of her baby have the audacity to point a gun at them, you can see how Teresa tries to “protect” Cleo’s baby by putting her hand in front of her stomach, as Fermin flees the scene people run around the store in terror making the viewer feel overwhelmed by everything that just happened.
Valeria: And if that wasn’t enough drama for you Cleo’s water breaks, making everything more scary. I think it’s kind of beautiful how the next scene captures life and death. As Cleo and Teresa are walking out of the store, we can see a woman asking for help while she holds a man in her arms, who’s most likely dead. Cleo is about to bring a human being into the world and a man’s life just ended. This represents the circle of life and how unpredictable life really is.
Jannah: What some people don’t know about this scene is that all the violence and murders that are happening in the movie, actually happened in real life. El halconazo “the hawk strike” was a massacre of students that happened on June 10th, 1971. More than 120 students died in this peaceful protest due to the country’s Governmental negligence.