Le Quattro Volte View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Michelangelo Frammartino

Produced: 2010

Countries & Regions: Germany, Italy, Switzerland

DVD Details

Certificate: U

Length: 88 mins

Format: DVD

Released: 10 October 2011

Cat No: NW025

Moviemail Details

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Le Quattro Volte

Cast: Giuseppe Fuda , Bruno Timpano , Nazareno Timpano

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Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino directs this deceptively simple and playfully philosophical study of life through the four... Read More

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Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino directs this deceptively simple and playfully philosophical study of life through the four seasons in a tiny Italian village high in the Calabrian hills in southern Italy. A majestic pine tree is cut down by the villagers to be used first as a maypole for the town festival and later turned into charcoal. An elderly, ailing goatherd (Giuseppe Fuda) quietly lives out his last days, believing in the healing powers of the dust he collects daily from the church floor, which he drinks in his water every day. But even as he is dying, a new goat kid is born and the cycle of life steadily goes on.

Sometimes, all too rarely, films appear from way out of leftfield that somehow find a way to travel far beyond what might, by rational analysis, be expected. From festival appearances and theatrical screenings onto DVD, they not only survive but thrive. Against all the odds they exist. And it is a triumph that they do. Miguel Frammartino’s second feature is such a film, and is one of the greatest of this young century.

In retrospect (easy to do), all doubt is dispelled. But how to pitch this unclassifiable hybrid work, dwelling on the wondrous threshold between fiction and documentary, transcendent poem and earthy prose, between life and death. Indeed, the first miracle is that ‘the four times’ secured production funding at all, in an age so sceptical of things that cannot be priced, quantified or even obviously held.

Ostensibly an idiosyncratic take on the ways and turns of a struggling village, situated deep in the verdant mountains of Calabria, Frammartino’s remarkable essay moves in four chapters – each bordered by an entry into absolute darkness – from the travails of a poor goatherd, through observation of his flock and the felling (or ritual repurposing) of a fir tree to the sculptural charcoal burning that brackets the film.

That this mirrors once local visionary Pythagoras’ theory of the soul’s transmigration from the human to the mineral is both crucial and a footnote. Frammartino has made an astonishingly beautiful, moving, humorous, profound and, finally, metaphysically luminous work that appears completely effortless and simultaneously compelling to encounter. In it, ants, dogs, people and wood all claim the same validity and significance. Rarely has the world – in its totality – been as celebrated as it is here. With barely any dialogue, but a soundtrack as sensory as it is precise, the film takes a journey around a

landscape that allows the viewer to consider their own life afresh.

Frammartino has practised architecture, photography and installation; he is now planning an animation. All these disciplines find their place in this masterpiece of empathy and engagement. A film to travel with, Le Quattro Volte demands to be seen, at least four times…

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