What way to welcome the new year of 2019 then by making history in Hollywood. Writer and director, Alfonso Cuaron and his film Roma did just that. He introduces us to a world that had been silent for so long, yet very close to his heart. Roma portrays the story of a young domestic worker from Mexico in the 1970s. In the film, we meet “Cleo” played by the rising star Yalitza Aparicio. Yalitza, a 25-year-old school teacher from Oaxaca, Mexico, not only stars in her first ever acting film, but is now nominated for an Oscar. This makes her the first indigenous woman to ever be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars.
Roma is a very personal film for both Cuaron and Yalitza. The writer re-lives his childhood memories through this autobiographical film. However, he couldn’t have done it without Yalitza. His nanny played a huge role in his life and wanted to give her the appropriate tribute. Yalitza was not given a script. In fact, there was no script for the entire film. (Variety) Every emotion that she shares with us is very much hers as it is Cleo’s. She got very involved in the film allowing viewers to feel a strong connection with her character. Through the film, you could feel for her and it just left you wondering, what happen to her and her future?
Although Cuaron’s intentions were not to make this film political, it sure did rise the conversation of the indigenous people. In fact, Mexico’s supreme court just allowed domestic workers to be a part of the social security system. (INSIDER) Change is being made for the indigenous people. Growing up, Yalitza’s mother was a domestic worker as well. In a statement she says, “I am proud this movie will help those of us who feel invisible be seen.” She also says that one of the main reason she decided to take on the role was for her mother. It was “an opportunity to pay tribute to my mother for her work.” (Entertainment Tonight)
Yalitza is bringing on so much more than fame to Mexico. She shares with us the importance of diversity and the discrimination of her people. “I’d be breaking the stereotype that because we’re indigenous we can’t do certain things because of our skin color. Receiving that nomination would be a break from so many ideas. It would open doors to other people — to everyone — and deepen our conviction that we can do these things now.” (New York Times) Indigenous people are paid unfairly and can only attain these low paying jobs due to inequality. Yalitza is being the voice of many and will hopefully continue to inspire others like her as she paves the path for the next generation to come.