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Every Alfonso Cuarón Film Ranked

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Alfonso Cuaron: A Mexican reshaping Hollywood

Alfonso Cuarón or Alfie as he is lovingly called is one of the few Mexican who is a power-player amongst the currently active Hollywood filmmakers. Cuarón’s films are immensely immersive, emerging either from his personal life or creative instincts. He holds the position of becoming the first Mexican director to ever win the Oscars for the best director category- winning it for Gravity in 2013.

He along with his fellow Mexican directors Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro Gómez has created a ‘Cha Cha Cha’ production company which like many of their movies raises the question of immigration and citizenship in a very humanly manner. He has collaborated with other filmmakers on various projects which includes creating the sci-fi ‘Believe’ TV Series and producing “The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004).” His progress as a filmmaker can be comprehended by his own quote, “The only reason you make a movie is not to make or set out to do a good or a bad movie, it’s just to see what you learn for the next one.”

The use of symbols seems to be his trademark and one can see its presence from his debut movie Solo Con Tu Pareja (1991) until his recent Roma (2018). Watching his movies two major epiphanies can be witnessed: One being his portrayal of the immorality – the way immigrants are treated around the globe which is majorly highlighted in his critically acclaimed movie ‘Children of Men’. Second, being the philosophy of Buddhism as explained by Thich Nhat Hanh in his book ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’, “People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality.” Something Cuaron tries to make the audience see through his long continuous shot and also his way of treating the camera as the audience or the way the audience see. This is heightened in Children of men wherein although the movie is told in the protagonist’s voice, Cuaron takes the camera again from his limited vision on occasion and let’s see the broader clearer picture. Also, In Gravity through his long continuous shot and use of montages he tries to convey the meaning and evolution of life.

Here, I have ranked all feature-length movies directed by Alfonso Cuaron:

8. Solo con tu pareja [1991]

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Cuaron’s debut film is nothing short of a mass entertainer with wonderful performances and an appreciably good script. What adds a layer of sophistication to this other average Rom-com is the use of symbolism and dialogues. It’s a story about Tomas Tomas who is a womanizer afraid to commit. But a false news, a prank of sorts played by the nurse whom he cheated on changes his life. The nurse changes his medical reports and makes him HIV positive, which results in a sequence of events that leads him to find the love of his life.

7. Great Expectations [1998]

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A modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’s timeless tale fails to make a mark it is expected to, even with the presence of Robert de Niro, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke. Both Hawke and Paltrow come as cheeky in their performances and the direction lacks the maturity that we see in Cuaron’s later works. It is a story of childhood love lost and found and the things in between, which also involves the protagonists becoming a successful painter and finding how a chance encounter with a stranger in his childhood was the reason for his success.

6. A Little Princess [1995]

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We see the glimpse of greatness Alfie is set to achieve in his direction, in this movie. Adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel of the same name, this is a wonderful children’s movie. The myth of Rama-Sita portrayed as father-daughter in the movie might come as offensive to many people but thinking a little deeper as their love to be the purest love ever it becomes a very beautiful movie. Liesel Matthews’ Sara crewe protagonist is a pleasure to watch. Liam Cunningham’s Capt Crewe/ Prince Rama brings the much needed veneer to the movie.

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban [2004]

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It is one of the best shot HP movie there is. The movie begins with the spell Lumos Maxima, which casts the light in the darkness that pretty much sums the essence of the movie. Dementors were introduced in the movie and scenes of the shrinking bus is hard-to-forget. Even the initial scenes of Aunt Marge turning into a balloon is witty and remarkable. Visually and plot-wise both the movie is awe-inspiring throughout. Scenes of climax with Buckbeak and Hermione’s time-turner and Harry’s fight with dementors and revelation of his past were extremely adventurous and exciting to watch! As a potter-head, it was a tough decision to put this movie in the fifth position but the rest of the four movies deserve the place they are placed at.


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