The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)


Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Kevin Thomas
    Apr 14, 2011
    In only his second feature, Frammartino has found a fresh and ravishingly poetic and beautiful way to explore the relationship between the spirit, man and nature.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 14, 2011
    There's humor in "Le Quattro Volte," and then a deep, abiding sadness, and beyond that a larger, more graceful comedy that extends to the horizons.
  3. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Mar 29, 2011
    Grave, beautiful, austerely comic, and casually metempsychotic, Michelangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro Volte is one of the wiggiest nature documentaries-or almost-documentaries-ever made.
  4. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Mar 29, 2011
    Frammartino keeps the material engaging simply by aiming the camera at his subjects and letting the material organically emerge-rather than enforcing the supernatural element with overstatement.
  5. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 29, 2011
    There is something startling, even shocking, about the angle of vision Mr. Frammartino imposes by juxtaposing apparently disparate elements and lingering on what seem at first to be insignificant details. You have never seen anything like this movie, even though what it shows you has been there all along.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 15, 2011
    Here is a film that invites philosophical musing. Made without dialogue and often in long shots, it regards the four stages of existence in a remote Italian village.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Mar 31, 2011
    It's a remote location, but Frammartino's canny eye, wry humor, and careful sense of rhythm make it feel like the best possible spot to observe the workings of the world, from ashes to ashes.
  8. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    May 23, 2011
    A beautiful but slow moving celebration of life, stunningly photographed.
  9. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jul 20, 2011
    It is easy to describe what occurs in Le Quattro Volte; less easy, however, to explain it. Calculatedly meditative yet casually metaphysical, Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times in English) is austere, funny, beautiful, and transfixing.
  10. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 15, 2011
    If you require a plot, look elsewhere.
  11. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Jun 9, 2011
    Le Quattro Volte may sound like art-house tedium, but in fact it's a movie of grave beauty, serene pace and surprising humor.
  12. 70
    It's tempting to call The Four Times documentary-like, except that documentaries usually explain what it is we are seeing. Instead, Frammartino uses his background as a video installation artist to create something that one could just as easily come across playing at an art gallery.
  13. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Mar 27, 2011
    Very kid-friendly, the wordless pic could strike some as an overly-intellectualized attempt to fetishize remnant semi-pagan traditions in a picturesque corner of Italy's Calabria province.
  14. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    Mar 27, 2011
    Alternately beguiling and actively irritating, Frammartino's second feature is too uneven to recommend whole-heartedly, but contains so many individually fascinating movies that attention should be paid.
  15. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Jun 16, 2011
    Like the incessant ringing of cowbells in the first two segments, the film may either hypnotize you or drive you stark staring mad.
  16. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Mar 29, 2011
    The director races far too quickly to get to his ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust punch line. This is the film of a pretender, not a believer.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Apr 5, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. "Le Quattro Voltre" or `The Four Times' is a slow moving and beautiful work of art. A silent and serene portrayal of the ideas of Pythagoras and transmigration, the idea of the soul being reincarnated again and again into humans, animals, vegetables and minerals until it is immortal; a continuous cycle of creation and existence. All of which is seen from a distance, with no dialogue or soundtrack and just the sounds of nature to accompanying the images on screen. At first we observe an old shepherd tending his flock, drinking a home remedy of water and dust from the floor of a local church, until his sudden death which is immediately proceed by the birth of a goat whose life comes to an end under a tree, which is cut down and used for a village ritual and later burned in the creation of coal, all ending in a puff of smoke from a lone chimney as ashes and dust enter the air, some of which to inevitably gather on the church floor, everything coming full circle.

    The view of the order of the world, of these people, of life and creation, existence, and superstition are all so clear it is as if you are discovering something that has been there all along but are only now recognizing, like an acknowledgement of complex themes for the first time done through the simplest means.

    By simple I mean restrained and meditative. I was personally surprised in how given the lack of any real action or narrative it still managed to be totally engrossed within every second of every frame. Whether it was a moment of subtle and natural humor, or due to hypnotic events including an astonishing longshot involving a dog and a truck; it all builds up to an enlightening revelation in the very end, the sort that makes you rethink and reexamine everything that had come before it and naturally leads to further pondering on its themes and meanings long after its conclusion.

    It truly is an incredibly fascinating piece of art that from a distance many would probably expect couldn't say much, and under another director that would have most likely been true, but Michelangelo Frammartino's ability to be so minimalistic yet still communicate on such a cosmic scale is as mystifying as it is refreshing and the reason it works. This is a wonderful achievement, however it is not for those unattuned to any sort of art-house cinema and most are better off ignoring this, the majority of the general movie going audience in fact would probably find it to be a tedious and monotonous affair. On the other hand, for those interested and willing to sit quietly and observe while allowing themselves to be overcome by a surreal and profound work of art this is the `must see' film of the year.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 8, 2012
    Beautiful landscapes. That's it.
    Nothing serves to make you feel the pointlessness of existence more than sitting through an hour and a half
    Beautiful landscapes. That's it.
    Nothing serves to make you feel the pointlessness of existence more than sitting through an hour and a half where only four things happen, none of them surprising or compelling. It would have been an engaging 10-minute short film, perhaps.
    The metaphysical theme, the gentle passing through the cycle of life, told in the four iterations in the film, is pretty much adolescent philosophy. I like the fact that it is simply witnessed, rather than narrated or explained, but the quality and insight of this aspect has been overplayed by critics.
    It would be so much more rewarding just to go and sit on a hillside than to sit watching this film.
    Full Review »