Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)

Michaelangelo Frammertino, 84m

A tree is felled, chopped into logs and transported to a kiln where it is turned into charcoal. The movie opens with a smoldering soil covered heap and for quite a while one is in suspense what exactly is going on. When we learn that it's all about charcoal, it comes like the resolution of a mystery. The film is set in a primitive European mountain village and the rhythms of life are beautifully depicts in this film in three parts, of which the story about the tree is the last. The second part depicts the life of a lamb from the moment of birth onto its journey of life in the world. The first is about the death of an aging goatherd.

There is no dialog or musical score. The sounds and visuals combine to take us through a slow absorbing journey through this event-less hamlet in the lap of nature. The film is just the right length.

To think there could be such drama and beauty in the manufacture of charcoal!