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The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte) (2011)



Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 50 | Rotten: 4

Birth, death, and transformation are examined in Le Quattro Volte, a profound and often funny mediation on the cycles of life on earth.


Average Rating: 8.6/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 1

Birth, death, and transformation are examined in Le Quattro Volte, a profound and often funny mediation on the cycles of life on earth.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,879

My Rating

Movie Info

An idyllic village in Italy's mountainous region of Calabria is the setting for LE QUATTRO VOLTE, an exquisitely filmed take on the cycles of life. Structured in four parts, per its title ("four times"), it opens with a shepherd tending his herd of goats, then shifts focus to one goat in particular, the tree under which he seeks shelter, and the industrialized fate of that plant. A.O. Scott of The New York Times writes: "(Its) view of nature is among the most profound, expansive and unsettling I

Sep 13, 2011


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March 31, 2011:
Critics Consensus: Source Code Is Certified Fresh
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All Critics (56) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (4) | DVD (3)

The God's-eye view becomes mesmerizing when we stop insisting that the film flatter us and just enjoy a quiet ride on the cycle.

July 15, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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I drifted pleasantly in its depths.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Le Quattro Volte may sound like art-house tedium, but in fact it's a movie of grave beauty, serene pace and surprising humor.

June 9, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Give Le Quattro Volte the patience it deserves, and you will be captivated by its stately rhythms, transfixed by its strange imagery, and moved by its sudden dramas. Don't, and you'll be bored to tears.

June 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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If Dante hadn't already made classic use of the title, Michelangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro Volte could instead have been called The Divine Comedy.

June 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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Explaining it makes it sound aridly abstract, but watching it is pure delight...

May 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The director emphasizes the fragile and invisible, the small specks of matter that make up the whole.

November 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

It's both an embrace of the comfort of ritual and certainly and acknowledgement of the magic of the unexpected and the accidental bringing change to routine.

December 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

Whose images of everyday life in the sticks makes for hypnotic viewing.

November 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Such descriptors as contemplative, deliberate, and meditative fall short of the mark in conveying exactly what's at work here.

October 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

A quiet, meditative, and spiritual Italian film about the transmigration of the soul.

September 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

The film's apparent simplicity is, in large measure, its charm and its universal appeal.

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Le Quattro Volte is cinematic slow food. It takes its time, is meticulous in its presentation, carefully considers the experience it provides, and then serves up a satisfying and nourishing feast.

July 2, 2011 Full Review Source:

Yes, at times, this quiet, meditative film is lovely. At other times, it's just plain tiresome. There's an actual shot of dust particles.

June 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer | Comment (1)
Cleveland Plain Dealer

An intriguing, somewhat maddening intellectual puzzle film and then a hypnotic illustration of an ambiguous, unsettling thesis.

June 13, 2011 Full Review Source:

Frammartino's seductive little film is poised halfway between doctored doc and artfully spare narrative.

June 13, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

It's an odd little film, to be sure, but it does a nice job of exploring the ways in which all life is eventually connected.

June 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Scotsman

If you succumb to these charms, I guarantee walking out of the theatre into the noisy city will be a jarring sensory overload experience.

June 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

It's a lovely piece of cinema with a striking visual sensibility, a sly sense of humour and a terrific cast of human and animal actors.

June 3, 2011 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

Frammartino's idyll of mystic metempsychosis batters down the boundary fence between tradition and modernity, pagan and Christian, documentary and fiction.

June 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4

If you can separate yourself from the buzz of higher-pitch cinema, the film's beauty, wit and charm come as a breath of fresh air.

May 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Audience Reviews for The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)

'Le Quattro Volte'. A highly unique film, exemplifying the visual medium of communication, documenting life moving from one form to another, in a town mostly untouched by the modern world, with large doses of humour thrown in!

For all intents and purposes, there is no dialogue throughout the entire film, forgiving a few inaudible murmurs between characters. This lack of dialogue is in no way missed, due to Michelangelo Frammartino's direction and the stars of the film, the animals, and nature itself.

I'm not quite sure how much of it was staged, and how it was made to happen, but the goats and dog of this film are arguably far funnier than the highest paid comedians of Hollywood. The obvious sequence involving the shepherd's dog, a rock, a truck and a procession. Couple that with the sorrow felt when the goat we follow from birth becomes separated from its pack, bleating away, trying to find its way back home, eventually settling into a hillside at night, starkly contrasted by the thick snow covering all, spelling inevitable doom; amazingly invokved emotions.

Having seen 'The Tree of Life' so recently, there were similarities thematically with 'Le Quattro Volte', but where Malick's scope was so, so grand, and framed around Christianity, I loved the smaller, focused scope of 'Le Quattro Volte'. Inspired by philosopher Pythagoras' belief in four-fold transmigration - from human to animal to vegetable to mineral, Frammartino steers the ship in such a way that the interconnectedness of it all is seamless and poetic, in tune with the four seasons, and the lives of everyone in the town.

In his review, A.O. Scott said...

"You have never seen anything like this movie, even though what it shows you has been there all along"

I haven't seen many goats myself, but I don't think I can put it any better.

[text from]
January 1, 2012
c0up †

Super Reviewer

Le Quattro Volte quite simply and quite beautifully explains or symbolises the 4 stages of life. The 4 stages; Birth, Life, Death and finally the reabsorbing back into the earth/nature are shown here in the life of a few individuals (and Goats) in a medieval Italian village. A lot of people have read various different things into this film, I'm going to go with what Michelangelo Frammartino has said it's about (seeing as he wrote it) and that is it's about different chapters in nature and the likenesses and contrasts between man and nature, touching on religion briefly along the way. When you view it in those ways, and uncomplicate it, it is so much easier and pleasant to sit back and watch. If, like me, you enjoy the simple pleasures in life, this film is for you. If you don't believe silence is golden then you need not apply. Beautifully filmed, simple and simply beautiful.
November 23, 2011

Super Reviewer

An Italian goatherd dies, then a goat born and dies, then a tree is cut down and made into charcoal in this slow moving, dialogue-free experiment. It's all made to illustrate Pythagoras' lesser-known theorem that humans are made up of the rational, the animal, the vegetable and the mineral. It has some hypnotic, documentary-style moments, and the Calabrian countryside is beautiful to behold, but mainly it's film medicine: you get the sense it's good for you, but it's not that much fun on the intake.
September 18, 2011
Greg S

Super Reviewer

"Le Quattro Volte" is a wordless nature documentary that is captivating for about 30 minutes. Director Michelangelo Frammartino (his second feature film) photographs an old man tending goats in a small Italian village where life has not changed much in 500 years. Frammartino is as much interested in the goats as the man, and the director does a remarkable job demonstrating the similarity between humans and other animals. The shepherd and his flock constitute Part 1 of the film.

Part 2 concerns the burning of wood to make charcoal. We watch as the local men build huge burning devices and fill them with freshly cut wood. The resulting charcoal is then brought to the houses of the village, where it is burned. Smoke then comes out the village chimneys, adding soot to the air. The soot then accumulates on village floors and windowsills. This refers back to Part 1, where we saw the elderly shepherd collecting soot from the floor of the local church.

All of this doesn't add up to much. Frammartino is a great cinematographer, but his ideas don't amount to much more than warmed-over Buddhism or modern eco-awareness about the interconnectedness of life forms. Ultimately, 'Quattro Volte' (which can be translated as "The Four Stages" or "The Four Turns") doesn't offer much more than you'd get from an episode of "Nature" on PBS.

Add Frammartino's name to the ever-growing list of cinematographers masquerading as filmmakers. There is a worldwide epidemic causing cinematographers to believe they have what it takes to be directors, simply because they are good at cinematography. Someone explain to these men (and so far they are all men) that filmmaking is not just about cinematography! This problem seems particularly pronounced in Italy right now. Last year we had the brainless but beautifully photographed "I Am Love" from Luca Guadagnino. In 2011, we have the similarly vacuous but sumptuously photographed "Quattro Volte." Viva Italia!
April 16, 2011
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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