The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)
(Unrated, 1:28:00, Released 2011)
|Genres:||Drama, Art House & International, Special Interest|
|Release Date:||Mar 30, 2011|
|DVD Release Date:||Sep 13, 2011|
|Starring:||Giuseppe Fuda, Bruno Timpano, Nazareno Timpano|
|Directed by:||Michelangelo Frammartino|
|Synopsis:||An idyllic village in Italy's mountainous region of Calabria is the setting for LE QUATTRO VOLTE, an exquisitely filmed take on the cycles of life. Structured in four parts, per its title ("four times"), it opens with a shepherd tending his herd of goats, then shifts focus to one goat in particular, the tree under which he seeks shelter, and the industrialized fate of that plant. A.O. Scott of The New York Times writes: "(Its) view of nature is among the most profound, expansive and unsettling I have ever encountered on film. There is virtually no dialogue, yet the film is far from silent: the rustling of trees, the sounds of agricultural labor, the barking of a dog and in particular the cries of goats supply a meaning that transcends words, while Mr. Frammartino's eye for both comedy and mystery produces compositions that are so strange and memorable that they seem to reinvent the very act of perception." -- (C) Lorber|
|Full movie details|
|All of Flixster:||(394)|
My Friends' Reviews
Other Top Reviews
January 1, 2012
'Le Quattro Volte'. A highly unique film, exemplifying the visual medium of communication, documenting life moving from one form to another, in a town mostly untouched by the modern world, with large doses of humour thrown in!
For all intents and purposes, there is no dialogue throughout the entire film, forgiving a few inaudible murmurs between characters. This lack of dialogue is in no way missed, due to Michelangelo Frammartino's direction and the stars of the film, the animals, and nature itself.
I'm not quite sure how much of it was staged, and how it was made to happen, but the goats and dog of this film are arguably far funnier than the highest paid comedians of Hollywood. The obvious sequence involving the shepherd's dog, a rock, a truck and a procession. Couple that with the sorrow felt when the goat we follow from birth becomes separated from its pack, bleating away, trying to find its way back home, eventually settling into a hillside at night, starkly contrasted by the thick snow covering all, spelling inevitable doom; amazingly invokved emotions.
Having seen 'The Tree of Life' so recently, there were similarities thematically with 'Le Quattro Volte', but where Malick's scope was so, so grand, and framed around Christianity, I loved the smaller, focused scope of 'Le Quattro Volte'. Inspired by philosopher Pythagoras' belief in four-fold transmigration - from human to animal to vegetable to mineral, Frammartino steers the ship in such a way that the interconnectedness of it all is seamless and poetic, in tune with the four seasons, and the lives of everyone in the town.
In his review, A.O. Scott said...
"You have never seen anything like this movie, even though what it shows you has been there all along"
I haven't seen many goats myself, but I don't think I can put it any better.
[text from http://blog.c0up.com/le-quattro-volte-spoilers-duh]
November 23, 2011
Le Quattro Volte quite simply and quite beautifully explains or symbolises the 4 stages of life. The 4 stages; Birth, Life, Death and finally the reabsorbing back into the earth/nature are shown here in the life of a few individuals (and Goats) in a medieval Italian village. A lot of people have read various different things into this film, I'm going to go with what Michelangelo Frammartino has said it's about (seeing as he wrote it) and that is it's about different chapters in nature and the likenesses and contrasts between man and nature, touching on religion briefly along the way. When you view it in those ways, and uncomplicate it, it is so much easier and pleasant to sit back and watch. If, like me, you enjoy the simple pleasures in life, this film is for you. If you don't believe silence is golden then you need not apply. Beautifully filmed, simple and simply beautiful.
September 18, 2011
An Italian goatherd dies, then a goat born and dies, then a tree is cut down and made into charcoal in this slow moving, dialogue-free experiment. It's all made to illustrate Pythagoras' lesser-known theorem that humans are made up of the rational, the animal, the vegetable and the mineral. It has some hypnotic, documentary-style moments, and the Calabrian countryside is beautiful to behold, but mainly it's film medicine: you get the sense it's good for you, but it's not that much fun on the intake.
April 16, 2011
"Le Quattro Volte" is a wordless nature documentary that is captivating for about 30 minutes. Director Michelangelo Frammartino (his second feature film) photographs an old man tending goats in a small Italian village where life has not changed much in 500 years. Frammartino is as much interested in the goats as the man, and the director does a remarkable job demonstrating the similarity between humans and other animals. The shepherd and his flock constitute Part 1 of the film.
Part 2 concerns the burning of wood to make charcoal. We watch as the local men build huge burning devices and fill them with freshly cut wood. The resulting charcoal is then brought to the houses of the village, where it is burned. Smoke then comes out the village chimneys, adding soot to the air. The soot then accumulates on village floors and windowsills. This refers back to Part 1, where we saw the elderly shepherd collecting soot from the floor of the local church.
All of this doesn't add up to much. Frammartino is a great cinematographer, but his ideas don't amount to much more than warmed-over Buddhism or modern eco-awareness about the interconnectedness of life forms. Ultimately, 'Quattro Volte' (which can be translated as "The Four Stages" or "The Four Turns") doesn't offer much more than you'd get from an episode of "Nature" on PBS.
Add Frammartino's name to the ever-growing list of cinematographers masquerading as filmmakers. There is a worldwide epidemic causing cinematographers to believe they have what it takes to be directors, simply because they are good at cinematography. Someone explain to these men (and so far they are all men) that filmmaking is not just about cinematography! This problem seems particularly pronounced in Italy right now. Last year we had the brainless but beautifully photographed "I Am Love" from Luca Guadagnino. In 2011, we have the similarly vacuous but sumptuously photographed "Quattro Volte." Viva Italia!
April 9, 2011
"Le Quattro Volte" starts and begins with scenes set around a coal furnace. The next sound we hear is the constant cough of an elderly shepherd(Giuseppe Fuda) who continues to work well into old age because he did not invest wisely in his 401k. In exploring themes of the perpetual cycle of life and death, the movie observes calmly that once he dies, there will be somebody else who will take over for him, as life moves on.
Or perhaps you would prefer a more religious explanation in the ashes to ashes department.(By the way, what kind of medicine is he taking anyway?) In which case, shepherds have always had their part to play in religious allegories.(Not to mention being the names of the lead characters in science fiction series.)
Or if you want to think outside of the box, then how about the old man being reborn as the goat calf we see being born in somewhat graphic fashion? Regardless, while such pastoral scenes are definitely pretty, they can also be sleep inducing which could have been disastrous, considering I was going to a ball game right after this movie.
November 8, 2011
In a world where most big studio/big name feature films are loud, violent, and boring; "Le Quattro Volte" is a sort of miracle that arrives without warning and continues to live off of the sheer element of surprise. The most shocking element of all might come from the fact that such a good film came from Italy; a country whose cinema began spiraling downwards years - possibly even decades - ago. However, once in a while, something magical and unforgettable comes along; this would be that film.
Read any basic synopsis, or even the back of the DVD, and it might sound like a whimsy fantasy. I cannot deny that it is; "Le Quattro Volte" is majestic and indeed quite whimsical; but sometimes, whimsy is a distraction, and other times, simple pleasure. I think the film, and those who worked so hard on it, understands that we live in harsh times; where complication in narrative style is far too common, and being simplistic is now frowned upon. I guess the reason that "Le Quattro Volte" works traces back to the deliverance of its subjects, themes, and style; it's simple, easy to take, slow-moving, yes, but undeniably beautiful.
Those who don't watch art-house films too often will probably leave the film with little to think about; because by the end, they will have abandoned all enthusiasm. It's a film with the kind of narrative that spoon-feeds those who sit and listen for a while, not much unlike the films we're used to seeing nowadays, but at the same time; you have to be patient and tolerant to fully accept it and take in the experience of seeing it. I liked the quiet, calm, thoughtful nature of the film; I also think it's one of the year's best.
I guess one way to put the story of "Le Quattro Volte" would be to mention that it's a story about the cycle of life; split into three parts. The first part, which is possibly the longest one of all, concerns an aging farmer who is dying from a nasty sickness and cough; and believes he has found a cure - a sort of remedy - through church-floor dust. Eventually, the old man dies, and from his first life, he moves on the next one. He now finds himself trapped in the body of a young goat. We first witness the birth of the child, and then we observe as the days go by, and he is given the gift of growth. One day, the baby finds itself lost from the herd; and it settles down under a large tree. It is implied that soon after, the animal is to perish.
So the final story, as you might guess, involves the tree that the little goat died under. It rests in the forest, and if it had a brain, it might be content; or at least until the villagers nearby come to chop it down, which they do. The tree is taken to their village, where it is put on display in the town square. Finally, it is made into charcoal to create fires for the townsfolk.
I fear I may have spoiled the entire film for you; or maybe it's you who feels that way about my synopsis, which I tried to keep as simple as I possibly could. The truth is that one can't correctly review this film without giving out some basic plot details. I don't feel that such things matter, or at least not in this case. I believe that "Le Quattro Volte" is a special work of art because it fails to follow the rules or conventional narrative approaches that we've come to expect from most movies. I don't love it for its story or its characters; I love it for the long,
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