October 05, 2011

Le Quattro Volte (Italy 2010)

"Le Quattro Volte" was among the films mentioned in a recent New York Times article refering to critically appraised but supposedly boring contemplative dramas as "cultural vegetables". Films that you don't really want to see but that you feel you have to because of their cultural value.

My personal view on this subject is that vegetables can taste just as good as anything else if you prepare them right and should make out a large portion of your diet. Which doesn't mean that there shouldn't be some room for meat and sweets too if you feel like it. You shouldn't force yourself to eat something you don't want to just because it's healthy - but it can't hurt trying out something new from time to time. In cinematic terms, I also believe that "cultural vegetables" like "Le Quattro Volte" can indeed enrich you culturally and stimulate your thoughts. That is, if there's an able "chef" on the director's chair and the ingredients are rights. And that's certainly the case here even though the meal may not appeal to everyone's taste.

"Le Quattro Volte" is an extraordinary film and a welcome diversion to the increasing uniformity of Arthouse films: an austere and quiet meditation on the last days of an old shepherd in a secluded mediaval village without a conventional narrative and without any dialogue. It is a deceptively simple film that shows a world where there is still a natural balance between man, animals and nature. Just the right film for our hectic age, in my opinion. The film will certainly be a challenge to the Internet generation and their limited attention spans. I don't want to deny that you have to be in the right mood to really get into the film but if you are willing to let go and open up your mind, the film will be an immensely rewarding experience.

"Le Quattro Volte" is the perfect film if you are - like myself - sick of the McDonaldisation of cinema.

Goats who stare at men

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