If you’ve seen Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” you’ll recall how the Oscar-winning director handles the arrival of the family patriarch in the film at the end of a long day. It’s treated as such an event, the shards of Cuaron’s memories conjuring the imagery: a cigarette-wielding hand shifting a chugging Ford Galaxie 500 into drive and reverse, maneuvering into the tight quarters of a driveway, its tires squishing a pile of dog excrement, the crown-topped logo of the car’s emblem slowly creeping into frame.
It’s all set to the tune of “Un Bal” from Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique,” emanating from the vehicle throughout. All these pieces come together to build what must been a daily ritual, the children watching with wonder and expectation as their father returns home from a day of work.
“I think I wanted to understand, to put the pieces together,” Cuaron told Variety of his approach to a movie that would draw on his life. “[Jorge Luis] Borges talks about how memory is an opaque, shattered mirror, but I see it more as a crack in the wall. The crack is whatever pain happened in the past. We tend to put several coats of paint over it, trying to cover that crack. But it’s still there.”
In its first release of a full scene from the film, Netflix has passed along a screenplay breakdown of the sequence. You can read how Cuaron came to these visuals on the page in the video above.