The Rolling Family is characteristic of the recent wave of Argentinean novo cinema to have hit international shores in the past few years: decentralized and organic narrative, ensemble hybrid casting of professional and non-professional actors that lends itself to muted expressivity (albeit with occasionally spirited outbursts) and contextually immersed, overlapping dialogue, and deliberately paced observations of (and finding humor in) the quotidian. Based on a ten year old screenplay written by Pablo Trapero and featuring the filmmaker’s own grandmother, Graciana Chironi as the family matriarch Emilia, the film opens to a shot of the sprightly octogenarian as she coddlingly feeds a large assortment of cats according to their individual dietary preferences before sitting at a dinner table for a family get-together with her middle-aged daughters and their families. Receiving an invitation call from her long separated sister from the province to serve as the matron of honor for an upcoming family wedding, the overjoyed Emilia impulsively promises that she will bring her entire family for the celebration. Chronicling the family’s (mis)adventures on their reluctant road trip to the remote, underdeveloped pueblos near the outskirts of the Argentinian-Brazilian border in an old, broken down caravan loaded with bickering parents and siblings, amorous teenagers, and bemused children, the film is occasionally amusing and well shot, but unfocused and meandering, leading to an experience that is as mildly entertaining as it is tedious…not unlike the family road trip.
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