Irish Film Institute -LE QUATTRO VOLTE



88 minutes| Italy-Germany-Switzerland| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema

We’re always reading how certain films are ‘special’ or ‘unique’, but in this instance the description really is warranted, since there’s never been anything else quite like Michelangelo Frammartino’s profoundly affecting portrait of the cycle of life in rural Calabria. Up in the hills, things continue much as they’ve always done: an elderly goat-herd tends his flock, his dog barks, kids are born and die . . . the goat kind, that is. None of which sounds like the stuff of high drama, but Frammartino’s exquisite framing and patient editing affords a remarkable sense of dignity to man and animal (even vegetable and mineral!) as all the elements play their part in the creation around us. It’s a film better experienced than described (Au hasard Balthazar meets Koyaanisqatsi?), achieved with unfussy directness and without classical music supplying fake ‘spiritual’ uplift. Utterly remarkable, and you won’t see a more amazing sequence this year than the incredible single take with the whip-smart collie. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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