Except for the small metal plaque affixed to its facade, Calle Tepeji 22 looks like almost any of the older houses in the old-fashioned part of Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood: painted stucco, a wrought iron fence over the front windows and their flowerpots, thin metal slats arranged geometrically on the frosted glass of the garage door.
But the plaque commemorates the most celebrated Mexican film in decades: Roma, a tapestry of memories woven by director Alfonso Cuarón that envelops the viewer in the dense images and sounds of Mexico City from his childhood.
In the 2018 film, 22 Tepeji replaced Cuarón’s childhood home, and its facade and courtyard featured in some of the most memorable scenes.
And now it is for sale.
“Life goes on,” said Adriana Monreal, the third of four generations in the family to have lived in the two-story home for more than half a century.
Cuarón spent the first years of his life in the house across the street, 21 Tepeji, but he preferred the light of the house across the street to shoot his film and the Monreal family agreed. The production designer, Eugenio Caballero, changed the window bars and re-lined the patio, which serves as the stage piece for the film’s opening scene featuring the film’s leading lady, Cleo, the family maid. , while washing dog dirt off the floor with soapy water.
Cuarón and Caballero reproduced the interior of the house on a set, painstakingly recreating the details of Cuarón’s memories. in a Netflix Documentary On the making of the film, Cuaron describes how he tried to find as much original furniture as possible and contacted relatives from all over Mexico to ask them to loan him pieces.
The Monreal family welcomed tourists when Rome was nominated for 10 Oscars (it won three, including one for Cuarón for best director) and moviegoers tracked the film’s locations across Rome and the rest of the city.
Monreal’s grandparents moved into the house when her mother, Gloria Silvia Monreal, was a young girl and raised her along with five brothers and sisters there.
Shortly after Adriana Monreal was born, her mother moved back home with her parents and raised their only daughter in the house. Remember a house full of people when your aunts and uncles came back to visit. She now lives there with her mother, her husband and their two young children.
“It hurts,” Monreal said of the decision to sell the house, preferring to keep the reasons for the sale private. “It has given us great satisfaction, we love it. You cannot measure everything that we have lived here, everything that this house has given us: shelter, closeness, a united family.
“We love it and we will always love it.”
Citing rumors that have started to fly on social media, Monreal did not share the sale price of the house. A list For a four-bedroom house on the same street, which is only two blocks long and hasn’t changed much since the 1970s, he cited a starting price of around $ 760,000.
The Monreal family reflects the gypsies that Cuarón portrays in his film, of middle-class families who live in the comfort offered by the stratified society of Mexico even though they are not wealthy.
A few blocks north, early 20th-century mansions and elegant plazas have turned Rome Norte into a global hipster haven filled with edgy boutiques and gourmet restaurants.
But in the section called Roma Sur, a few blocks from a community garden and the historic elementary school where Monreal’s mother studied, the traditional neighborhood endures. It’s a place where local merchants still endure through thick and thin, houses are home to multi-generational families, and night walkers greet each other with a wink.
When the Monreal family leaves, another small rift will open in Roma.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism