Le Quattro Volte: Cannes Winner Beautifully Describes Calabrian (and Universal) Life — Without Words
Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times), a film set in Calabria by director Michelangelo Frammartino, won the 2010 Europa Cinemas Label as Best European Film in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. From the trailer and clips I have seen, it beautifully captures the simplicity of life in this gorgeous land I’m proud to call home while effectively relating the universal idea that each of us has “four distinct lives [mineral, vegetable, animal, and man] and so we have to get to know ourselves four times” (my translation from the official trailer below).
The fact that the story revolves around a goatherd isn’t exactly lost on me either.
A description of the film from Tim Lloyd at AdelaideNow:
An old goatherd takes his flock to feed in the high pastures of Calabria then milks them at his stalls at a spectacular hilltop village, where the rhythm and ritual of life appears unchanged in centuries. His cure-all for his failing health is the blessed ash from ceremonies at the local church. He dies, and at his death a newborn goat takes its first breath. It suits the off-beat and curiously satisfying vision of the film, that the goatherd is resurrected as a goat, then as a tree, and eventually as a mineral.
Screen‘s Wendy Mitchell reports on what the jury said:
This is a beautifully evocative, humorous and subtle look at life and nature in deepest rural Italy. Never didactic or sentimental, the director takes creative risks and manages to pull them off. At a time when original film-making is so threatened, we feel it is entirely appropriate to award the Europa Cinemas Label to Le Quattro Volte, and to offer European audiences the opportunity of enjoying such a life-affirming view of a remote corner of our continent.
From Natasha Senjanovic of The Hollywood Reporter:
Frammartino uses his background as a video installation artist to create something that one could just as easily come across playing at an art gallery. The director simply turns on the camera and shows us the natural progression of time in a place where time seems to have stopped. Working from a quote from the School of Pythagoras — that each of us has four distinct lives within our one life, and thus must meet each other four times — the number four also represents four elements (man, animal, plant and mineral) and the four seasons.
I personally find the link with Pythagoras, whose work heavily influenced Plato and other subsequent philosophers, notable as the Ionian Greek philosopher spent a good deal of time in Crotone, Calabria; there he established a small group of followers, which actually may have led to the city’s troubles with nearby Sybaris, now only ruins near the current town of Sibari. Sybarites were famous for their enjoyments of all things luxurious — and they are why we still use the term “sybarites” for pleasure-seekers today — but their lifestyle did not exactly jibe with Pythagoras’ teachings.
What follows are the trailer of Le Quattro Volte, another set of clips, and an interview with Frammartino (in Italian):
I cannot wait to see this film.