Welcome one and all to Flixist’s new end of the year awards program, the Golden Cages! With Hollywood becoming increasingly out of touch with what the people like, we at Flixist have taken it upon ourselves to deliver the fair, balanced, dignity-filled awards you deserve. Why are we delivering our 2018 awards so late in the year? Because the Oscars do it and we’re better than them. The winners of the Golden Cages will be spread out over the next two weeks, right before the hostless Academy Awards.
I’m in a pickle here because it’s hard for us to gush any more about Roma than we already have. After getting one of only three perfect scores we have every given at Flixist this year, the movie went on to collect The Golden Cage for both Best Cinematography and Best Director. I don’t know if there’s that much more to say about it than what those posts already said. It’s a stunningly good movie that people will look back at for years to come as influential.
Maybe that’s a good spot to dive into Roma yet again. There are plenty of movies that are good, and there’s a good chunk of movies that are great, but films that we look back at years from now as changing cinema are rare. Roma sounds like a film like that. You can read about why in those other posts, but it is more than that. It’s a culturally and historically important piece of filmmaking and that needs to be taken into account when awarding it praise.
To start, we can point to the fact that it’s one of the most well shot, directed, and paced films of the decade. We’ll be looking at this move for years, deconstructing it, and finding new aspects to praise. Its use of black and white will be a defining moment in the use of color in films as well as how its family dinners make the entire thing more like a memory from your own past. It’s cliche to bring up Citizen Kane, but this movie’s direction feels as revelatory as that classic must have felt when it first debuted. Film students will be watching this for years to come.
But we also can’t ignore the fact that Roma is the herald of a new dynamic in Hollywood. The movie, which begs to be seen on the big screen with full surround sound, will be watched by most at home because it was made by Netflix. Roma has ushered us into a new era, one where the best films don’t have to screen in a movie theater, where the quality of a film is not based on the medium it is released on. This doesn’t in and of itself make Roma a better movie, but when considering why it is the best film of the year it is hard to ignore the importance of its release. Roma truly changes the game for the entire film industry.
We don’t, however, watch movies because they’re historically important, impeccably constructed, or because someone told us to. We watch movies because they move us and that is Roma’s true power. The film goes beyond cultural history, it goes beyond specific memories, it goes beyond language. Roma dives into what it means to be human and then lets us come away with our own feelings and thoughts intact. The film is based on Cauron’s childhood and memories, but it creates a sense of home and place that is inside all of us. So while its artistry and release are striking the real reason it is the best film of the year is because it is more than just those things. It reminds us to celebrate life.