Thank's for starting this thread arsaib4, it'll be interesting to find out more about Argentinean cinema. For my contribution, here are my comments for a film I've just seen.
Familia Rodante (2004) Rolling Family
Directed by Pablo Trapero
Featuring Graciana Chironi, Marianela Pedano
Its funny cos its true!
This is one of those films that hits you immediately (or the majority of us anyway), why? Because these people, this grouping, this matriarchal family structure is so universal.
Its Grandmas birthday, we open with her sat at a garden table reminiscing with old friends, switch to the inside of the house, her daughters and grandchildren hustle and bustle, continuously getting in each others way or just being a nuisance as they prepare the celebration meal.
There is a war going on, sisters vie with each other for their mothers attention, this despite the fact that they have husbands, children of their own and their mother is at least 80 years old. Yes I know this family, I know this structure, Ive been there, seen it, done it, got the T-shirt. These are my in-laws and Ive no doubt there are many families that are exactly the same all around the world.
During the celebrations Grandma receives a phone call, she has been invited to her nieces wedding, along with the entire family group, indeed she has been requested to be the matron of honour. So without further ado the family prepare for the 1,000+-km trip from Buenos Aires to the rural town of Misiones.
Now the fun begins, twelve family members, from Grandma to great grandchild pack into a camper van for the journey that will take two days, cramped together like sardines, a true test for any family.
Apart from the bickering fretting daughters, there are the husbands and their children, in one case, a daughter (with best friend in tow), in the other a daughter (with a baby) and two sons. There is tension, not just between the wives/daughters but also between the husbands. There is also a case of kissing cousins (but the boy is far more interested in his cousins best friend) and further into the trek we meet the father of the great grandchild (who doesnt exactly get on with his partners father).
Breakdowns, the steamy heat, young lust and familial tensions all add fuel to the fire on this trip of a lifetime but when Grandma speaks, everybody stops and listens. Will they make the wedding; indeed will they survive this trip intact? Only time will tell.
The film struck me with its reality and honesty, non actors took the majority of roles and together they felt like a real family, theres no deliberate comedy element, the humour is genuinely felt because you know these people. You may have been within a large family gathering such as this and if so I have no doubt that many of the occurrences will ring bells with you.
While the family may feel universal, the film is without a doubt Argentinean, the constant references to mate (a form of herbal drink) which is known as Argentinas national drink. The countryside, from vast open plains to beautiful rugged wooded mountains, the police with their constant checks, and of course the horses, Gouchos and celebrations.
Recommended? Yes, its a well-made film, nice performances and great views of Argentina. If it had been a Hollywood film, the comedy would have been laboured to the point of excess, as it is, if you find it amusing itll be for the right reasons.
BBFC rating 15
R2 Pal dvd available from Artificial Eye includes short "making of" doc.