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A Film Diary

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Watched: 9 November

Calm, meditative and experimental slow cinema, Le Quattro Volte comprises four separate stages, or ‘turns’, a structure that has been inspired by a theory developed by Pythagoras (though I must admit this reference went completely over my head at the time of watching). We see life in a mountain village in southern Italy, first concentrating on an elderly goatherd who drinks a potion each night containing dust from the floor of the local church, which supposedly has healing properties (this represents the human realm). The cycles that follow depict the town after local residents have left for a procession and goats have ‘taken over’ (the animal realm), a lone fir tree standing tall throughout the seasons (the plant realm) and then finally a kind of mineral realm as the tree is chopped down and made into charcoal for the fires of local people. There is little-to-no dialogue, so we mostly hear the bleating of the goats, the ringing of their bells and natural sounds. It’s all very relaxing and the way in which we return to different scenes at different points in the year is reassuring. (***½)

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