Le Quattro volte, 2010

The idea of permeable boundaries between life and death, reality and fiction also captures the spirit of Michelangelo Frammartino’s distilled, yet richly textured fresco, Le Quattro Volte. Composed of four seasonal portraits that collectively present the cycle of life in the ancient village of Calabria, the film is something of a hybrid between Raymond Depardon’s Profils paysans documentaries on the dying culture of rural farmers and Otar Iosseliani’s pastoral comedies. By shifting narrative focus in each episode – an aging shepherd who cures his ailments with a nightly dose of holy dust obtained from the charwoman of the village church, a kid who sets out on his first graze and is separated from the herd, a tree that is cut down to be used as a maypole for the town festival, the construction of a coal-fired kiln to produce charcoal – Frammartino gives equal weight between the organic and inorganic to convey a sense of cosmic, eternal interconnectedness.

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