Don't the title of the list explain it well enough? This is a list of 200+ quality "short" films. Easy…
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.…
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.…
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 glowing embers, gently releasing…
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…
I loved this. The director says it's about the weakening of the bond between mankind and nature but he's glad that it makes people laugh. And I definitely laughed quite a bit.
In the beginning there is a goat herder, his dog and his goats. Then the goat herder's dog has a really bad day, then there is only a goat who has such a bad day I found it hard to watch. After that really there is just the cycle of life in this beautiful sparse rustic Calabrian town.
Honestly nothing much happens, it's set in Italy but there are no subtitles because there is barely any dialogue. It's just a quiet look at a simple life.
It certainly helps that goats are natural performers. Pixar might want to do a remake. Just an idea.
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…
Beautiful, no words to describe it
The Four Times is a philosophical yet beautiful art showing a daily life in Southern Italy, with several stories featured incessantly.
But i must confess that sometimes, Le Quattro Volte is a movie with boredom
I will freely admit that my initial reaction to Le quattro volte was caustic boredom. The film has next to nothing happening, and not in a 2001 way but in an Andy Warhol's Empire kind of way. Over time, however, a certain inertia overtook me, and I began to resonate more and more with the film's aesthetic choices. The film is beautiful and vast, and if you can get used to the lack of motion and dialogue, this is a swirling meditation on Pythagoras's conception of the life cycle. What really sealed the deal for me was that I was left reeling for days afterwards, consistently appreciating it more and more the more I reflected. Truly a masterpiece.
A favorite on the festival circuit last year, Le Quattro Volte is a terrifically understated tragicomedy about transmigration through the eyes of four beings: an old goatherd, a baby goat, a tree, and coal. As the old man dies, the film cuts directly to a baby goat leaving her mother’s birth canal. This carries on as the lost baby goat takes shelter under a tree, signaling yet another obscure point-of-view change. Despite the ultra-serious ambiguities that arise about the transmittance of life, what makes Michelangelo Frammartino’s work so unique is his unusual sense of humor. He seems to tease the audience for associating the old man and the tree, for example, when the tree is chopped down and displayed in…
Absolutely entrancing film that has been described as a poem. I had a difficult time focusing the first time I watched it, but enjoyed it much more once I knew not to expect a traditional narrative structure and just gave myself over to this unique world and vision. The cinematography is beautiful and makes me regret not being able to see it in the theatre.
Just a wonderful, cute, kissy brio in almost every shot. Some of the prettiest stuff I've seen and some of the ugliest, all in a brisk 88 minutes. Pythagoras's "sacred geometrics" -- man reincarnates as animal, then plant, and then finally mineral -- is examined in a crazy-clear dialogue-less tone poem about agriculture.
This wonderful film may not be for all tastes ... it is almost completely visual (no dialog) and for those used to mainstream editing styles it may seem slow-moving. It explores life in a small mountain village in southern Italy, and it has three main subjects, each examined in turn ... an old man, a young goat, and a cedar tree. The locale is wonderful, a poor but peaceful place where life appears to go on as it always has ... aside from a few modern hints, a paved road, an electric light, the story could be taking place hundreds of years ago. Even though it takes place in the present day, the sound cues are timeless ... we hear…
Ordinary is extraordinary.
This reminded me a lot of 'Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring'.
Both are slow, but neither has a wasted frame.
Neither explains itself too easily, but both give up their secrets in time, and unfold as thought-provoking and beautiful pieces of work.
They are similar in that they each consider the cycles of life, but differ, and complement each other by doing so in different ways.
At first I found this a difficult film to 'get'. But then, a few minutes into the tree bit, something clicked in me and the rest of the film became a profound and wonderful experience.
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Final Cut - Ladies & Gentlemen
- For All Mankind
- J.S.A. Joint Security Area
Face it. Sometimes you don't want to watch a foreign, slow-paced or long film at the end of the day.…
- Army of Shadows
- Nights of Cabiria
- High and Low
- My Neighbor Totoro
The best films I've seen in 2013 with big thank you's to Letterboxders who recommended them (see Notes).