EXCLUSIVE: Netflix’s Roma was built from the memories of its writer-director Alfonso Cuarón during his childhood in Mexico City. Those memories are as much of sounds as they are of visuals, according to the filmmaker, who along with his sound gurus explain in a new behind-the-scenes featurette. The pic has been working its way through awards season since its Golden Lion win at Venice and is a surefire Oscar contender, and is up for three Golden Globes on Sunday.
“The visuals [in the film] are very layered that you see from foreground, midground, background,” said Cuarón in the video that details (and that’s the right word) the philosophy of the movie’s sound. “Well, we wanted that layering to also be represented with sound.”
The clip shows off the impact of the concept, with sloshing water from mop buckets to ocean waves moving from side to side (the later neatly visualized by a Dolby Atmos sound effect placement graphic); gunshots in the countryside; marching bands moving through a frame; and a scene winding through the Mexico City streets with vendors, families, and other sounds of the bustling metropolis of Cuarón’s youth.
For that one, co-supervising sound editor Skip Lievsay, who won the CAS Award and Sound Mixing Oscar for Cuarón’s Gravity, said 350 actors recorded voices during one studio session — all the dialogue was written by Cuarón. Said the director: “Every single individual that you see in that street has a specific sound.”
The end product put the audience in each scene, and in that way in Cuarón’s own mind.
Said the film’s co-rerecording mixer Craig Henighan: “Alfonso’s made a movie that is part of his memories, and some of those sounds are very very specific to him, so we had to sort of make sure that those sort of sounds were correct .. and felt like you were there.”
Check out the featurette above.