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Wednesday Must-See: Le Quattro volte

Wednesday Must-See: Le Quattro volte

A hybrid fable about the cosmic interconnectedness of all things and a document of rural daily existence, Italian director Michelangelo Frammartino’s beguiling Le Quattro volte (The Four Times) presents life as cycle and the earth as circuit, a feedback loop of matter and quiet splendor. Frammartino and his cinematographer, Andrea Locatelli, employ the static long shots and extended single takes used by so many contemporary makers of documentary-inflected, landscape-fixated fiction features, from Lisandro Alonso to Jia Zhangke, to tell a story of the transmigration of a soul from a man to a goat to a tree to a burlap sack of charcoal—the complete absence of dialogue also underscores the primacy of the visuals (and of voiceless living beings) in Le Quattro volte. The film’s events all take place in the Calabria region of Italy, marked by rolling hillsides and intact medieval villages, and once the home of the first famous vegetarian, Pythagoras, whose ideas about metempsychosis here find a well-modulated celluloid incarnation. Read Benjamin Mercer’s review of Le Quattro volte.

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