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Alfonso Cuaron Says ‘Roma’ Is Better in Theaters

Director Alfonso Cuaron opted to work with Netflix for his latest film “Roma,” but the decorated filmmaker isn’t discounting the importance of a big-screen viewing.

“The complete experience of ‘Roma’ is unquestionably in a movie theater,” Cuaron said Monday night at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles for the premiere of “Roma.” 

The streaming giant did release the Oscar contender exclusively in theaters for a limited theatrical window, though its widest expansion will be in 600 cinemas worldwide. Most films play in well over 1,000 venues in North America alone. Even so, Cuaron thinks audiences will enjoy the convenience of seeing “Roma” on smaller devices.

“Nevertheless, I think the experience of watching the film at home will have the same emotional impact,” he said of the largely autobiographical film based on his childhood in Roma, Mexico with his nanny, played by Yalitza Aparicio

Marina de Tavira, who plays Cuaron‘s mother in the film, also weighed in on the benefits of seeing a movie at multiplexes.

“The experience of seeing it on a big screen is incredible,” she said. “But still, the fact that it’s going to be on [Netflix], is going to make it go to every single corner of the world. So I think we have the best of both worlds.”

Art director Oscar Tello said at first, he was on the fence about releasing the film with Netflix. “That was something I was very reluctant [about],” he said. “It will not be the same experience, obviously…but the dramatic content of the movie is still there, no matter if you see it on your cell phone.” 

Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos recently said he believes that audiences will enjoy ‘Roma’ on their phones.

“I love the theatrical experience and we’re not in conflict with anyone, I think we’re a complement to each other,” he told the crowd Thursday at Variety‘s annual Dealmakers breakfast at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. “[‘Roma’] is awesome on the big screen, but most of the world does not have access to do that. What I want to do is connect people with movies they’re going to love. And they’re going to love ‘Roma.’ They’re going to love it on their phone, they’re going to love it on a huge big screen.”

Also waking the red carpet were “Scream Queens” star Diego Boneta and “How to Get Away with Murder” star Karla Souza.

“The story line of Cleo is something that I need to come and support because more movies need to have that perspective,” Souza said, highlighting the importance of Latinx representation. “In Mexico, we’re still living in a very classist society. I had a great career because I’m white passing, so it’s very easy to get the romantic comedies and do all those things. It’s so hard for people that look like Yalitza to do anything in my industry, so it’s so important that this movie gets the attention that it deserves for that reason.”

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