Barbara Enriquez Interview: ‘Roma’ set decorator
In creating the scenery for “Roma,” set decorator Barbara Enriquez had many conversations with Alfonso Cuaron “about his childhood, his house, and all his memories.” The director based this film largely on his own recollections of growing up in Mexico City during the 1970s, centering the story on a maid named Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) who works for a middle-class family much like his own. Because of that, his remembrance “was the very first approach to the decoration” of the locations. Watch our exclusive video interview with Enriquez above.
Following her conversations with Cuaron, Enriquez dove headfirst into her research to get the period right. “We researched the labels and trademarks of that time,” she explains, “the newspapers, the food they ate, sodas and that kind of stuff.” This even extended to “all the films that were in the cinemas that year in Mexico City.”
She also had to recreate numerous locations where actual events occurred, including the street where the Corpus Christi Massacre took place. “We had to change all the exteriors,” she says. The furniture store where Cleo witnesses the riot from above had to be completely redone as well, since in the subsequent 40 years it had been changed into a gym. “We took out everything, and then we put inside the things” that would make it a completely different place of business.
Now Enriquez is nominated for an Oscar alongside production designer Eugenio Caballero. The two also competed at the BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and Art Directors Guild Awards for their work. Their bid from the motion picture academy is one of 10 that “Roma” received overall, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Aparicio), Best Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira), and Best Original Screenplay. It recently won Best Picture at BAFTA and Critics’ Choice.