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Alfonso Cuaron

  • Mexican director
  • Born November 28, 1961

Alfonso Cuarón Orozco (US: ; Spanish: [alˈfonso kwaˈɾon] pronunciation ; born 28 November 1961) is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, and editor. His work has received critical acclaim and many accolades. He has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won five, including two Best Director awards for Gravity (2013) and Roma (2018). He is the first Latin American director to receive the award for Best Director. He has also received Academy Awards for Best Film Editing for Gravity and Best Cinematography for Roma.


It's a cliche, but Americans are puritanical. In their movies, they are scared of sex, but they overindulge in violence. I could have cut a G-rated version of 'Y Tu Mama Tambien' that would have pleased the American ratings board, but it would have been five minutes long.




If I would rescue one of my movies, it would be 'A Little Princess.'




I have to say, 'Gravity' is better in 3-D, even though in 2-D the quality of the picture is better. But the 3-D is better.




The reason I like tracking shots has to do more with a sense of real time than anything else. In 'Gravity,' the use of tracking - of long extended takes - was partially because we wanted to film it like an IMAX-style Discovery Channel documentary. You don't have the luxury of cuts when you're in space. The camera is there; you're just observing.




I'm interested in new worlds, new universes, new challenges. I always said the only reason to make a film is not for the result but for what you learn for the next one.




In 'Gravity,' nearly everything is a metaphor for the main character. The way I tend to approach a film is that character and background are equally important; one informs the other. Here, Sandra Bullock is caught between Earth and the void of the universe, just floating there in between. We use the debris as a metaphor for adversity.




I believe that human beings are born first and given passports later. I'm really thankful for my journey. And it's a journey I didn't design.




Dramatically, the moment in 'Gravity' that was hardest to nail down is when Ryan is in the Soyuz capsule and she realizes that she's out of fuel. That's when the character's arc gets defined.




When you strip hope from people, it leaves a void, and that void needs to be filled. And very likely, that void is going to be filled by an ideology... Hope and faith are so connected. Now, when ideology connects with faith, the ideology becomes an item of faith, not a point of discussion.




When you work with kids, people tell you to be very delicate, but that's the last thing you should do with kids. They feel patronized if you're like that. They just want you to be normal.




Cautionary tales were fantastic in the '70s.




Space fascinated me because I'm from the generation that saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon live on TV. I was 7 at the time. Also, 'Lost in Space' was one of my favorite shows on TV back then.




A lot of the films I like are more than fantasies - they're movies fascinated by the technology of space exploration, and they try to honor the laws of physics. I watched the Gregory Peck movie 'Marooned' over and over when I was a kid.




It's seldom that you find great moments in television. Usually you remember - in 'Breaking Bad' or any of these other great shows - you remember situations or characters. Not moments. But I have to say, I can make the same argument for mainstream movies, which have bad narratives and also no memorable moments.




When you're doing a film, narrative is your most important tool, but it's a tool to create a cinematographic experience, to create those moments that are beyond narrative, that are almost an abstraction of that moment that hits your psyche.




I was not aware of how much I loved 'Canoa' until I saw it after doing 'Y Tu Mama Tambien' and realized that my voice - over about the story's historical context - that narrator - came from 'Canoa'.




I guess I have a short attention span! I'm interested in new worlds, new universes, new challenges.




I was 8 when we landed on the moon. I was so into the space program as a kid. Eventually, I realized it was very unlikely that a Mexican kid in the early '70s was going to be an astronaut.




I love L.A. I always have such a great time in L.A. The way I kind of define me and L.A. is the noise of the factory doesn't let me sleep well.




I left Mexico for artistic survival. If I had stayed, I would have been forced by the government, who control the movie business, to direct TV shows or commercials or infomercials for the government.




Once I finish a film, I don't ever see it again. Never ever. I have never seen any of my films since I finished them.




I have my misgivings about 3-D. I don't like the lack of blacks and whites, how it dulls the image, how the color gets corrupted. I don't necessarily like the experience of having heavy glasses in front of me.




I knew early on that I was a nerd and that films were my refuge. Those first few minutes before the lights went off, and you're alone in the theater waiting, were really pleasurable.




Most people just half-watch TV. They watch TV while they are doing many other things in the environment of their home. So, what they are doing goes through their ears as much as through their eyes. In television, the narrative and characters are in the foreground of everything, because you are watching TV as you do other stuff.




The two real leads in 'Children of Men' are Clive Owen and the social environment. You know, this same movie without the social environment maybe is just like a generic chase movie.




'Y Tu Mama Tambien' is one of the first unrated movies to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. But many video stores won't take a movie that's not rated, so I had to make the movie an R.




I think it is something that is so important, to be very aware of the direction in which the 21st century is going with all this blind faith in democracy. And by the way, I am not against democracy - I am against the blind faith that is being put in democracy.




For me, my films are not like my children. They are like my ex-wife. They gave me so much; I gave them so much; I loved them so much; we part ways, and it's OK, we part ways.




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 amazing thing is that the more money it takes for a movie to get made, the more you feel like everybody wants you to fail.




If you want to keep on being relevant as a director, I think you have to embrace the times. And with the times come technologies and formats.




What's the point of being an Australian guy traveling through India if you are going to go to India to meet other Australians?




I have this thing that, once I finish a movie, I never see it again.



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