Le Quattro Volte (U)

Film

Drama

quattrovolteREV806

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue May 24 2011

What a pleasure to welcome a true original. Here’s a wonderful film about life, the universe and everything. It’s captivating, touching, wryly humorous, mysterious, intriguing and uplifting. It’s set in rural Calabria in the depths of Italy, there’s no dialogue, and it stars an old man, the world’s cleverest collie, lots of goats, a tree and… a pile of charcoal. True, this sounds suspiciously like a piss-take on arthouse pretentiousness, but you’ll just have to trust us: the charcoal really is key.

Not that this is immediately apparent from the get-go, since writer-director Frammartino only gradually unfurls his secrets. It starts with peasants enigmatically bashing a huge smouldering pile of ash, the thump-thump laid over the plain white-on-black title card like a heartbeat. ‘Le Quattro Volte’ translates as ‘The Four Times’, maybe even ‘The Four Turns’, so we’re left to ponder on that. Cut to an elderly goatherd who spends his time with his flock up on the hills, is clearly not in the best of health, and is treating himself with a solution of what turns out to be dust swept from the floor of the local church. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust then? Certainly, the film’s not short on images of regeneration and renewal, as the small hilltop community’s Easter festival brings the cast of a Passion Play, we see a baby goat coming into this world and taking its first hesitant steps… and then there’s the tree, and the charcoal, of course…

Where exactly is all this going? Well, there’s not a conventional narrative as such, but the ‘Four Turns’ allusion does make sense as the focus moves from man to animal to vegetable to mineral, the different elements combining to make the totality of the movie – just as they make the totality of everything else in this world, Frammartino seems to be reminding us.

Explaining it makes it sound aridly abstract, but watching it is pure delight, since the camera captures baby animals at play, the aforementioned collie strutting its stuff in a mind-boggling extended set-piece, the passing clouds and a tree persevering through winter, all shot in a way which is jolly, entrancingly beautiful and utterly heart-rending (nature is harsh, after all) from moment to moment. Naturally, as a viewer, you try to impose an interpretation on everything, but that seems to be the very point, since images of the Easter story, and indeed a more ancient folk festival seen later in the film, seem to hint at mankind’s need for an overriding ‘story’ explaining our place in the universe.

It’s meditative and thought-provoking, all right, yet hardly a difficult film, even if it’s not quite like anything else you’ve ever seen. For some there’ll be reminders of Kiarostami, or Gideon Koppel’s lovely ‘Sleep Furiously’, perhaps even Bresson’s ‘Au Hasard Balthazar’, but no prior cinephile knowledge is required to get the most out of this beguiling and unique piece of cinema. Just an open mind. And an open heart.
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Release details

Rated:

U

UK release:

Fri May 27, 2011

Duration:

88 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Michelangelo Frammartino

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|13
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The Baker Family

do not understand the critical hype around this film. even we can understand the beautiful camera angles and the breathtaking scenery of southern italy, that is only 5 minutes of entertainment. very arty farty.

Chris Wordsworth

A wonderful film: beautifully paced, mesmeric and fulfilling. I especially liked the camerawork with carefully composed shots held still while the characters moved across these sumptuous backgrounds. Evidently some of your reviewers just didn't 'get' this film, perhaps approaching it with the wrong attitude.

Chris Wordsworth

A wonderful film: beautifully paced, mesmeric and fulfilling. I especially liked the camerawork with carefully composed shots held still while the characters moved across these sumptuous backgrounds. Evidently some of your reviewers just didn't 'get' this film, perhaps approaching it with the wrong attitude.

DisgustedofTunridgeWells

I knew there wouildn't be a plot, but this was very laborious. Lovely rustic village, scenery, goatherd, animals, but 30 mins would have done it justice. Suspect 5* revues suffering from 'Emporer's New Clothes' syndrome

Unimpressed

Seeing this movie was a huge waste of my not particularly precious time. Most of the people at the screening I was at, at least those who didn't leave before the end, felt cheated out of a movie, an evening out etc. I urge you to save yourself the ticket price and time by not going, or at least read lots of reviews before you go. It gets one star only because this website requires it.

Phil Ince

Saw this film again today. It's perfect and as beautiful as full of life any film I've ever seen. The goat kid, the charcoal fire and the dog are the stars (though the dog does ham it up sometimes). Sublime.

Phil Ince

Saw this film again today. It's perfect and as beautiful as full of life any film I've ever seen. The goat kid, the charcoal fire and the dog are the stars (though the dog does ham it up sometimes). Sublime.

Phil Ince

An old man coughs, his dog barks at everyone and everything (the greatest dog in showbusiness, by the way, performing a magnificent one take sight gag), a tree is felled and climbed in a town festival, snails escape from a pan, a goat kid is lost in a grove. There's no dialogue. Lovely photography of diverse farm yards, town- and land- scapes. Not sure why I give it 4 rather than 5 stars but it's an appropriately self-confident film that doesn't need my patronage. Fine work. See and applaud it's rural rhythm and glamour.

Ian

Wonderful film. If you enjoyed the very good Sleep Furiously last year you will love this. Similar in tone, slow self-effacing observational and rich in detail. A lovely tinkling, subtle soundtrack, full of natural sound. Slow film making at its best, just allow yourself to bask in it. Goats will love this film, I hope they were at the cast and crew screening - and you will love them too.

Ian

Wonderful film. If you enjoyed the very good Sleep Furiously last year you will love this. Similar in tone, slow self-effacing observational and rich in detail. A lovely tinkling, subtle soundtrack, full of natural sound. Slow film making at its best, just allow yourself to bask in it. Goats will love this film, I hope they were at the cast and crew screening - and you will love them too.

julus

You like goats ?? then you may like the film, otherwise its to subtile for me...