Another low-budget gem from the New Argentine cinema, this vibrant, bitter-sweet film crams four generations of a Buenos Aires family into an ageing camper van for a 1000 km trip up to the border with Brazil. The cramped, stifling conditions and assorted mechanical failures bring domestic tensions and romantic conflicts to the surface. But Familia Rodante is generous in its sympathies, and is buoyed by the spirited central performance of the filmmaker's real-life grandmother, the non-professional actress Graciana Chironi.
Indeed it's Chironi's 84-year-old matriarch Emilia who kick-starts the story by insisting that her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all accompany her to a wedding in her hometown where she has been asked to be a maid of honour. Trapero doesn't provide us with much information about his ensemble cast - we never learn for example about their jobs in the city and we don't particularly get to know any one individual. The focus is on the present, and how they all cope with the arduous conditions on the journey, and the restless, handheld camerawork and tight framing reflect their collective discomfort.
"A METAPHOR FOR ARGENTINEAN SOCIETY"
Trapero provides us with various glimpses of rural Argentina: the landscapes grow more verdant the further north the family drives, cowboys roam the roads, and a small town is decked out in blue-and-white national flags to celebrate a holiday. And amidst the bickering and disagreements amongst Emilia's relatives - one son-in-law makes a romantic play for his sister-in-law - the film pays tribute to the practical resourcefulness of its characters in the face of numerous obstacles. The rolling family of the title becomes a metaphor for Argentinean society as a whole, struggling along but sticking together despite the country's economic crises.
In Spanish with English subtitles.