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Best Films of 2010 #24 – ‘La Quattro Volte’

La Quattro Volte

Directed by Michelangelo Frammartino

The academic film magazine Sight & Sound has for recent years been charting the emergence of a so called ‘slow’ cinema on the world stage, a type of cinema exemplified by the likes of Bruno Dumont, Bela Tarr or Carlos Reygadas, a strand of film-making where the emphasis is not on the conventions of dialogue or characterization – or in some cases even a cursory interest in plot. These traditional facets are all being sacrificed on the altar of atmosphere, as very long takes of beautiful landscapes and evocatively lit interiors dominate run-times. La Quattro Volte certainly falls into this latter category, as the film has perhaps a half dozen words of dialogue which are not subtitled, and once the emphasis changes from the herdsman there are no characters at all to speak of, although in a curious way a process of anthropomorphism takes hold in the viewer as the animals and eventually minerals seem to take on an animated life of their own. It may sound trite, but the cycle of life is here in this visual tone poem, a film certainly not for everyone that evokes a sense of Kiarostami or Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar in its unusual format and structure… (read the full review)