Le Quattro Volte DVD
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Directed by Michelangelo Frammartino
Produced in 2010
Main Language - Italian with English subtitles
Bruno Timpano, Giuseppe Fuda, Nazareno Timpano
An unclassifiable, transcendent reverie on life, death, the four seasons and the splendours of Calabria, this is one of the great films of this young century, say Gareth Evans.
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…
Gareth Evans on 21st September 2011
Author of 16 reviews
An unclassifiably brilliant reverie on life, death, nature and the splendours of Calabria, Le Quattro Volte is a deceptively simple and playfully philosophical study of life through the four seasons in a tiny Italian village high in the Calabrian hills.
An old shepherd lives out his last days. He herds goats under skies that most villagers have deserted long ago. He is sick, but believes that he can find his medicine in the dust he collects on the church floor, which he drinks in his water every day.
A new goat kid is born. We follow its first few tentative steps, its first games, until it gains strength and goes to pasture. Nearby, a majestic tree stirs in the mountain breeze and slowly changes through the seasons, until transformed into fuel through the ancestral work of the local charcoal makers.
A beautiful and poetic vision of the revolving cycles of life and nature in the unbroken traditions of a timeless place, Le Quattro Volte appears as the metaphor of a soul that moves through four successive states of being.
Publisher: New Wave Films
Length: 88 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 10th October 2011
Cat No: NW025
- Exclusive interview with Michelangelo Frammartino.