'Roma' Met With Enthusiastic Applause at L.A. Premiere

Presley Ann/FilmMagic
From left: Scott Stuber, Gabriela Rodriguez, Alfonso Cuaron, Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira and Nico Celis

"I think that the new generation of film directors is way better than our generation," director Alfonso Cuaron told The Hollywood Reporter of the rise of Mexican cinema at his film's premiere.

Director Alfonso Cuarón and stars Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira all walked the black carpet at the Egyptian Theater on Monday night for the Los Angeles premiere of Roma. The Spanish-language film has become an award-season favorite, and the cast and crew were still celebrating their three Golden Globe nominations, including for best director.

The movie is a semi-autobiographical story of Curaon’s childhood growing up in Mexico and follows the life of the housekeeper to a middle-class Mexican family, played by first-time actress Aparicio.

Cuaron told THR how he learned of his Golden Globe nomination.

“It was after having lunch with my kid. I checked my emails after lunch and I just turned to my son and said, ‘Do you want to go to the Golden Globes?’ And that was it. It was nice.”

The film had a powerful emotional impact on the more than 700 guests at the Egyptian, with some seen openly weeping in their seats during one of Roma’s more tragic scenes and rewarding the film with rapturous applause at its conclusion.

De Tavira, who was the only experienced actress in the cast, told THR that she hoped the success of Roma would open up opportunities for other Mexican films to break into the mainstream.

“I think there are great movies that never even get to the theaters and stay unknown," she said. "In Mexico we have great, great directors and great filmmakers that are never even seen. So of course if Roma is an opportunity to let people turn around and look at Mexican cinema, it will be great.”

How to Get Away With Murder actress Karla Souza was a guest at the screening, and she saw the film as essential to spotlighting the kinds of people and stories that Hollywood too often ignores.

“I think that it’s extremely important, because we never see these story lines," she said. "I’m on a show with Viola Davis, and she was talking about how The Help wasn’t the perspective of the help, and this is the opposite, and this is exactly what I think she is talking about. In Mexico, we’re a very classist society, and especially in my industry, you never get to see people like Yalitza be the story. He’s [Cuaron] breaking with every stereotype...it is very authentic and very genuine and personal to him, and that’s why it's so magical.”

After the screening, guests flocked to the Chateau Marmont for the after party, where they were greeted by an authentic mariachi band and Cuaron surprised Aparicio with a Sweet Lady Jane triple berry cake.