Five years after his award-winning “Crane World” splashed young director Pablo Trapero on festival screens and “El Bonaerense” confirmed him as a major talent of new Argentine cinema, Trapero steps back into a more personal but less original story with “Rolling Family.” An extended Buenos Aires family’s long caravan trip offers Trapero a chance to use his scripted-documentary approach to tell stories about ordinary people, but here the socio-political background that gave his previous films their edge takes a backseat to family squabbles and love stories. Film’s overly familiar setting coupled with an extremely leisurely pace will hamper offshore placement.
Eighty-four-year-old Emilia (Graciana Chironi), the matriarch of a closely knit, four generation working class family, receives an invitation to be the matron of honor at a grandniece’s wedding, and her whole family crams into a makeshift mobile camper driven by Oscar (Bernardo Forteza) and heads for her hometown on the Brazilian border.
Her daughters (Liliana Capurro, Ruth Dobel) have a tiff over an old love affair involving one’s husband that gets rekindled. Her rasta-haired granddaughter, who just had a baby, gets back together with her violent biker boyfriend. Two young teens become kissing cousins, someone has a dental emergency and the camper breaks down, but they finally arrive in time for the festivities.
The film has humanity to burn, but its loose structure makes it hard to connect with the multiple characters. Much screen time goes by before some emotional pay-off arrives from the noisy, squalling family. The quickly sketched characters, played by a mixed cast of pro and non-pro actors, work best in a handful of comic situations.