The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)


The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 54


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,968
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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 have ever encountered on film. There is virtually no dialogue, yet the film is far from silent: the rustling of trees, the sounds of agricultural labor, the barking of a dog and in particular the cries of goats supply a meaning that transcends words, while Mr. Frammartino's eye for both comedy and mystery produces compositions that are so strange and memorable that they seem to reinvent the very act of perception." -- (C) Lorber

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Giuseppe Fuda
as The Shepherd
Bruno Timpano
as A Coal Maker
Nazareno Timpano
as A Coal Maker

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Critic Reviews for The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (18)

Audience Reviews for The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)

  • Mar 10, 2012
    This is exactly the kind of film making that I love. Poetic, quiet and delicate. Every shot is sculpted for infinite contemplation. You forget you are watching a filmâ¦just wonderful
    Hassan V Super Reviewer
  • Nov 16, 2011
    Pensive, philosophical, and beautiful Italian film on life's connectivity illustrated four times. Beautiful landscape stunningly captured on film speaks loudly on behalf of the characters in the film. The old goatherd is linked to a kid goat, a tall tree and finally a charcoal with each of the "character's" screen time significantly decreased, signifying our own placing of importance Finally, the charcoal reaches back to the old man's place, completing the circle of life. This almost silent film may not speak to a lot of audiences but will definitely resonate to hardcore film lovers.
    Bert R Super Reviewer
  • Nov 08, 2011
    9.3/10 In a world where most big studio/big name feature films are loud, violent, and boring; "Le Quattro Volte" is a sort of miracle that arrives without warning and continues to live off of the sheer element of surprise. The most shocking element of all might come from the fact that such a good film came from Italy; a country whose cinema began spiraling downwards years - possibly even decades - ago. However, once in a while, something magical and unforgettable comes along; this would be that film. Read any basic synopsis, or even the back of the DVD, and it might sound like a whimsy fantasy. I cannot deny that it is; "Le Quattro Volte" is majestic and indeed quite whimsical; but sometimes, whimsy is a distraction, and other times, simple pleasure. I think the film, and those who worked so hard on it, understands that we live in harsh times; where complication in narrative style is far too common, and being simplistic is now frowned upon. I guess the reason that "Le Quattro Volte" works traces back to the deliverance of its subjects, themes, and style; it's simple, easy to take, slow-moving, yes, but undeniably beautiful. Those who don't watch art-house films too often will probably leave the film with little to think about; because by the end, they will have abandoned all enthusiasm. It's a film with the kind of narrative that spoon-feeds those who sit and listen for a while, not much unlike the films we're used to seeing nowadays, but at the same time; you have to be patient and tolerant to fully accept it and take in the experience of seeing it. I liked the quiet, calm, thoughtful nature of the film; I also think it's one of the year's best. I guess one way to put the story of "Le Quattro Volte" would be to mention that it's a story about the cycle of life; split into three parts. The first part, which is possibly the longest one of all, concerns an aging farmer who is dying from a nasty sickness and cough; and believes he has found a cure - a sort of remedy - through church-floor dust. Eventually, the old man dies, and from his first life, he moves on the next one. He now finds himself trapped in the body of a young goat. We first witness the birth of the child, and then we observe as the days go by, and he is given the gift of growth. One day, the baby finds itself lost from the herd; and it settles down under a large tree. It is implied that soon after, the animal is to perish. So the final story, as you might guess, involves the tree that the little goat died under. It rests in the forest, and if it had a brain, it might be content; or at least until the villagers nearby come to chop it down, which they do. The tree is taken to their village, where it is put on display in the town square. Finally, it is made into charcoal to create fires for the townsfolk. I fear I may have spoiled the entire film for you; or maybe it's you who feels that way about my synopsis, which I tried to keep as simple as I possibly could. The truth is that one can't correctly review this film without giving out some basic plot details. I don't feel that such things matter, or at least not in this case. I believe that "Le Quattro Volte" is a special work of art because it fails to follow the rules or conventional narrative approaches that we've come to expect from most movies. I don't love it for its story or its characters; I love it for the long, observant shots, the absence of a soundtrack, and the strong thematic elements that run throughout. Those who scratch their heads over the message should know; there probably isn't one. It is a film that follows the philosophy that the soul can travel from one body to another; and at that, one of the most stunning approaches to life and death I've seen. A film with this kind of structure isn't going to please everyone in the crowd. It's a movie that most people won't see, for it lacks the proper amount of hype and advertising to get a very large audience, but I saw screw that. What matters is not how much money it will make; especially when it probably wasn't made on a high budget to begin with. I believe what matters is the depth, the thoughts that we have when we watch it, and the quality alone. "Le Quattro Volte" is a great movie. It is pleasant to watch, has a philosophy of its own, and it has intrigued me a great deal. And if that isn't something worth talking about, then I'm not sure what is.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2011
    Filmed like a documentary, watching it is like sitting in a cafe seeing the world go by; If you have patience & pay attention, someting always happens. Especially around a goat. I loved the film, but I can equally imagine others being bored silly. <img src="">
    Lesley N Super Reviewer

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