Title: Le Quattro Volte
Director: Michelangelo Frammartino
Screenwriters: Michelangelo Frammartino
Starring: Giuseppe Fuda, Bruno Timpano, Nazareno Timpano
Yeah, so this is obviously “not for everyone,” insofar as it’s a plotless, nearly silent thinkpiece about man’s relationship to nature and the interconnectedness of all things. The film’s intrepid distributor, Lorber Films, didn’t help matters by using its Italian-language title, whose translation (“The Four Times”) is a big clue to what Frammartino is after here, namely a methodical illustration of the way the film gets from its set-up — a dying goatherder in southern Italy collects the dust from the floor of the village church and takes it as medicine — full circle to its conclusion, which involves the goat herder not at all.
This sort of thing obviously requires patience and a measure of tolerance for the purely conceptual, but I found Le Quattro Volte totally engrossing — at first as an intriguing, somewhat maddening intellectual puzzle film and then, after I began to get a sense of what Frammartino was about, as a hypnotic illustration of an ambiguous, unsettling thesis. (I should note that despite Frammartino’s focus on said thesis, the absence of real human characters for him to manipulate to prove his point keeps the film from seeming obnoxiously schematic a la Certified Copy.) Keep an eye out for one of the awesomest single-take scenes in recent memory.
— Eugene Novikov