If you're feeling overwhelmed, but still want to squeeze a film into your daily routine, this list is made for…
The Four Times
In the backcountry of southern Italy’s mountainous region of Calabria, an old shepherd leads his flock to pasture along paths in the hills which have fallen into disuse. Every morning, the church housekeeper trades a handful of the church’s dust for some of the shepherd’s fresh milk. Every evening, the elderly shepherd dissolves the "magic" powder in water and drinks this mixture to remedy his aches and pains. One day, he doesn’t show up for their trade. The next day, he dies in his bed as his goats keep vigil over his passing. A kid takes its first steps, but he is slower than the rest of the flock and falls behind. He falls into a ditch in the middle of the forest. Unable to climb out, he bleats for help, but neither the new shepherd, nor his dog, hear him. When he finally emerges from the ditch, he finds that he is alone. He wanders aimlessly until, as night begins to fall, he stumbles onto a majestic fir tree in which he seeks shelter.
I read that it was a visual poem to the Pythagorean idea of the soul migrating from man to animal to plant life. Whoa. That's a film for a Sunday morning viewing if ever there was one. I thought I would have to come prepared with knowledge of pre-Socratic philosophy, not my strong suit.
I didn't really want to work that hard. I preferred the idea of wanting to see it at some point in my life, secretly hoping that that point might never turn into a concrete now. But alas I noticed that it was expiring on Netflix very soon. It had to be done. I picked a morning time slot and came to it with plenty of caffeine.…
After watching Le Quattro Volte it was early evening. I walked outside and pulled some small splits from our wood stack in preparation to build the evening fire. I brought them into the kitchen, laid them near the stove, and gathered some dry kindling like I always do.
I opened the stove door, and delicately shoveled the top layer of fine ash and dust and carefully deposited it into the ash pail beside the stove like I always do. The ash pail will later be emptied into an air tight ash can in the driveway, the contents later used on our driveway on icy winter days. The removal of the ash reveals a small bed of dying embers, gently releasing…
The wind still blows.
The wind is the world in motion. We are the world. We are the wind.
We are the bells.
We change every day. We are not stone.
We are flesh. And blood. And fur. And dirt.
We await. We adore. We transform.
Time never stops.
The wind still blows.
It gives us breath, it carries our words. It carries us.
It chimes the bells.
The bells are life. The bells are home.
We tend to the bells, and the bells tend to us.
Nature and routine. An eternal symbiosis guiding us into the unknown.
Both with the same goal, reward, curse.
Life and death. Flesh and blood.
Winner signaled by brief panic, then death.…
Film #13 of Cinebro's "Long Live the New Flesh" Challenge
I throw the word "meditative" around a lot when describing movies. It's not until I saw "Le Quattro Volte," however, that I realized how empty of a descriptor that is.
"Le Quattro Volte" is a dialogue-free story set in the steppes of Southern Italy. Based on the "four realms" of Pythagorean metaphysics (animal, vegetable, mineral, and rational/intellectual), it gives us four interconnected stories charting various stages of birth, death, and reincarnation. Traditional plot devices are replaced by quiet contemplation. A lot of time is spent observing the daily life of a goat, for example, or the felling of a tree. You may be rolling your eyes already, picturing a fat…
Meditative is normally a polite way of saying a film is crushingly slow and boring, yet the description is accurate here and far from a criticism. Le Quattro Volte is a film about life, its cycles and unwavering endurance. Set in a small farming village nestled in the Italian hills of Calabria, the film chronicles life in four acts; each focused on the Pythagorean philosophy that mineral, vegetable, animal and human are all reincarnated.
It is a film that deals in big and small moments and treats them all with equal importance. Words such as transcendent, profound and spiritual can easily be thrown around when describing the film, and they would be worthy descriptions, but what is surprising is that…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Michelangelo Frammartino has accused traditional cinema of being manipulative in its use of musical score to provoke superficial, shallow emotional responses in the viewer. Swelling strings at the pivotal moments of Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg films have become fodder for parody, but some will defend them as being inextricable from their respective genres. I don't believe this criticism is being aimed at the big blockbusters, however, as Frammartino probably considers it a separate art form to art cinema, more comparable to a theme park ride (not that we should be ashamed for taking pleasure in "fun" and frivilous films - I think we've all learned to put Bourdieu away). It is being leveled at less bombastic (even self-described as…
A narrative Samsara. It was good, but not as pretty or as narratively driven as I would have liked it to be.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
You know why everyone has their own interpretation of this film? It’s because it is so lacking in content that you can read what you like into it.
I know that sounds harsh. For the director, Michelangelo Frammartino, it’s about the breakdown between man and nature. For me, it’s watching a lovely collection of beautiful imagery, great ambient sound, and a fine performance from Giuseppe Fuda as the elderly shepherd. The collection does not include plot or strong themes. I got about 35 minutes into the film before I realised that nothing was going to happen. There would be no character development, and the only surprising thing about the shepherd’s death for me is that it did not happen at…
Considering there is no dialogue in this film and one of the main characters is a tree, it was alarmingly engrossing. The first half was full of hilarious moments as well as genuinely saddening moments (I now love goats). Second half was a bit more "deep" and hammered home the messages about the cyclical nature of life and existence. Beautifully shot and genuinely astonishing in terms of the fact it exists, Le Quattro Volte is much more enjoyable in the traditional sense than it may initially seem.
This might be the funniest film I've ever seen
A quiet Italian movie, a beautiful experience.
Odd, almost silent Italian film, based on Pythagoras philosophical musings on the cycle of life that weaves from human, animal, vegetable to mineral. There are also religious threads seen throughout.
More a film you meditate on than watch for story. I expected it to be a taxing bore (after all, it centers around some goats, a tree and a mound of coal), but I found myself getting swept into the thing despite how slooooow it moves.
The camera looks. Often this is a return to the cinema of the Lumiere brothers, one where the camera looks at the world and we watch. Goats move down a track. An ant walks across the face of the goatherd. The goatherd gets ready for bed. At times there are occurrences that indicate significance: the goatherd gives a bottle of milk to the woman who sweeps the church and has packaged the sweepings as a medicine, seemingly blessing it – there is an exchange, an act of faith, maybe a cynical manipulation of the Church’s aura for personal gain...but then none of this is followed up, so to begin to respond this way is pointless. There is a sequence where…
"The end credits also include a silver fir, the goats of Caulonia and the coal of Calabria among the cast members"
It is so true and yet you got to see it to believe it.
Slow and yet you did not want it to end -
One of the great metaphysical inquiries on film. Each transition of state leaves ones eyes parched.
On a whimsical note - take a date on this film after which you'll have more time to watch great movies.
Also - learn how to make charcoal !
Great 60-90 min films (for those days when you just don't have the energy to watch a 3 hour masterpiece)
Doesn't the title of the list explain it well enough? This is a list of hight quality "short" films. Easy…
This list features all 596 films that appeared on the 177 ballots of the BBC's recent poll. 349 of them…