Thursday, August 26, 2010

Familia Rodante (2004)

Pablo Trapero's road movie kicks off when an octogenarian Buenos Aires abuela called Emilia gets a call from relatives in her old hometown in Misiones inviting her to be the matron of honour at her grand-niece's wedding. That a trip up to the border might provide some long overdue family bonding opportunities is the old lady's premise which gets the most thorough exploration as the extended families of her two daughters pile into a 1958 Chevy Viking.

As in Y tu mamá también such a journey features obstacles within and without, and affords the director the opportunity to create a portrait of his own country's fascinating out
lands. Yet the action in the foreground is far less urgent than in Cuarón's movie; Familia Rodante is gentle, bittersweet and minimalist and V confided that she was never more than a yawn away from complete disengagement. (She later suggested some alternative chapinised titles for this sort of material, such as Retajila con Ruedas and Molotera en Moción.)

It's not that much of a spoiler to say that the movie ends with Emilia sipping her mate in silent reflection for several minutes pondering, one imagines, longer-term issues such as 'what have I done with my life?' and shorter-term ones like 'what have I done to my family?' Trapero cast his own 84-year-old grandmother Graciana Chironi in this key role, and it would seem that the use of non-professional actors has become a key element of contemporary Latin American cinema.

I liked this movie. Not as much as Historias Mínimas. But I liked it.

Grade: B+

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