Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

Le quattro volte 2010

Directed by Michelangelo Frammartino

A rugged valley in Italy’s mountainous region of Calabria is the setting for this wonderful film, a spellbinding take on a way of life as old as the elements. "Fresh and ravishingly poetic." LA Times

Germany / Italy / Switzerland
88 minutes

Director, Screenplay


Marta Donzelli
Gregorio Paonessa
Susanne Marian
Philippe Bober
Gabriella Manfrè
Elda Guidinetti
Andres Pfaeffli


Andrea Locatelli


Benni Atria
Maurizio Grillo

Production designer

Matthew Broussard

Costume designer

Gabriella Maiolo


Giuseppe Fuda (the shepherd)
Bruno Timpano
Nazareno Timpano (coal makers)


Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Karlovy Vary, Toronto, New York, London 2010; San Francisco 2011


Michelangelo Frammartino’s ode to the cycles of nature applies a wryly detached ‘documentary’ eye to what is in fact a meticulously staged and richly loaded drama – in which some of the principal actors are mineral, vegetable and animal. Here humanity is no longer at the centre of the universe, simply part of its mysterious process: we see a mighty tree accorded more ceremony in death than a superstitious old man. Frammartino’s eye on the animal world is little short of miraculous. He holds us enthralled by the territorial contests of baby goats – and, in a shot that will live forever in cinema history, floors us with the intervention in human affairs of a dog. This mutt’s seamless execution of an elaborately choreographed gag makes up for the lack of a Buster Keaton comedy on this year’s programme. — BG

Le quattro volte, an idiosyncratic and amazing new film… is so full of surprises – nearly every shot contains a revelation, sneaky or overt, cosmic or mundane – that even to describe it is to risk giving something away… In four chapters… Mr Frammartino successively chronicles the earthly transit and material transmutation of an old man, a young goat, a tree and a batch of charcoal. Each being or thing is examined with such care and wit that you become engrossed in the moment-to-moment flow of cinematic prose, only at the end grasping the epic scope and lyrical depth of what you have seen, which is more or less all of creation.” — A.O. Scott, NY Times