After ‘Gravity,’ Alfonso Cuarón Had His Pick of Directing Blockbusters. Instead, He Went Home to Make ‘Roma.’

What Cuarón wanted, the director told me, was to make “a kind of spiritual X-ray of my family, with its wounds and its sores.” Staring into childhood trauma, stylizing it, exploring it from the vantage of maturity in order to understand the construction of the self: Such therapeutic forensics are so common among artists that they’re almost a cliché. Cuarón’s brilliance lies not in his subject but in his decision to make himself a peripheral character. Almost every scene includes an event that would have been unforgettable for a young boy: the night he witnessed a fire, the afternoon he discovered a family secret, the day he nearly killed a sibling. But you need to track back to piece that all together, because Paco, the character based on Cuarón, rarely holds the center of the frame. Instead “Roma” follows Cleo — a character based on a domestic worker who has lived with Cuarón’s family ever since he was a newborn.

https://nyti.ms/2Gdz1PP

En español: https://www.nytimes.com/es/2018/12/13/alfonso-cuaron-roma-entrevista/

Mario Vargas Llosa: The Last Titan

Why has García Márquez’s magical realism cemented its place on American bookshelves and syllabuses while Vargas Llosa’s gritty masterpieces are neglected? Vargas Llosa’s best books are harder to read than García Márquez’s. He’s less sentimental, dirtier, raunchier, angrier. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” looks like a Hallmark card next to “Conversation in the Cathedral.” You might be fired for assigning Vargas Llosa in high school English. And Vargas Llosa has published so many novels — 18 in all — that the tours de force can get lost among the mediocrities. His buttoned-up public demeanor hasn’t helped. “Gabo” was not only a tremendous writer; he was an expert showman who once worked in advertising and cannily played up his Caribbean exoticism for foreign audiences. When the two fell out in the 1970s, many intellectuals leaned left toward García Márquez, while Vargas Llosa was shunned.

https://nyti.ms/2C7VhYE

 

Jorge Ramos's Long Game

Around the corner from Arpaio, near a bright yellow sign that read “No Outlet,” two producers and two cameramen huddled with the Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos, running through their pre-interview preparations. Cameras rolling. Microphone on. “I’m on TV,” Ramos told me later. “I’m constantly thinking about performance and journalistic integrity.” For him, one is no use without the other.