Six years ago I posted a trailer on Frames of Reference for this magical film by Michelangelo Frammartino, Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times). Now, at last, here’s the whole thing. It’s a film unlike any other. Time passes slowly from one to another. These are some words from the trailer…
We each have four successive lives within ourselves; each one contained within the others. We are mineral; we are made of salt, water and organic matter. We are vegetable; like plants we breathe, reproduce and nourish ourselves. We are animal; we have imagination, memory and knowledge of the outside world. In the end we are rational beings; we possess will and reason. We each have four distinct lives within ourselves… and so we must discover ourselves four times.
I’ve just seen the most beautiful film. It’s undeniably slow but that’s not to say it isn’t action packed. There’s a lot to look at. There is no spoken dialogue as such, just a sequence of gorgeous images that make up a visual poem. It’s premise is the Pythagorean idea that there is a four-fold transmigration of souls, from human to animal to vegetable to mineral. The film follows the passage from man to goat to tree to charcoal, the soul moving through four successive lives, to be discovered four times. It is set in the present day in a medieval village in Calabria. The goats are the stars, but there is one amazing prize-winning performance from a dog. This is my favourite film and I can’t wait to watch it again.
See Philip French’s review in The Guardian, but better still see the film.