BFI London Film Festival: Alfonso Cuarón

Alfonso Cuarón
Screen Talk: Alfonso Cuarón
Sunday October 14th, 2018

by Joanna Orland

On the morning of October 14th, director Alfonso Cuarón was scheduled for an onstage interview at BFI Southbank. With only 45 minutes notice, the event was postponed as the director was having travel issues. Later that day, BFI patrons received an email notifying them that the event was still to go ahead, but now at Picturehouse Central at 4:30pm. As the time finally arrived for Alfonso Cuarón to take the stage, the theatre was only half full as the BFI announced full refunds for everyone.

Those who managed to rearrange their schedules to attend the Screen Talk by Alfonso Cuarón were in for a brief, but proper treat. Speaking for only 40 minutes rather than the intended 90, the interview was light on accompanying film clips, but heavy on insight into Cuarón’s working methods. Beginning with his latest film Roma, the director discussed how he made the film without a screenplay and with primarily non-professional actors. As he was recreating the atmosphere from his memory, he cast actors and even background extras who resembled those he knew in his past. Being such a particular vision, Cuarón even took over the cinematography of the film himself, bypassing his longtime collaborator Emmanuel Lubezki.

After Roma, Cuarón took the time to discuss some of his iconic films of the past. The unseen similarities between Y Tu Mamá También and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was amongst the topics, as was the disappointment Guillermo del Toro had in his friend when Cuarón admitted to him that he hadn’t read any of the Harry Potter books (del Toro said something along the lines of “You arrogant little asshole…”).

Not enough time was given to Children of Men or Gravity, but Cuarón touched upon how he wasn’t attempting to be prophetic with Children of Men, but rather followed predictions and warnings from experts. He then ended the evening by apologizing, explaining that those who have flown Ryan Air before would completely understand his 6 hour delay! The uproarious laughter at that comment was a clear indicator that we all do.


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