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MOVIE REVIEW: The Four Times (La Quattro Volte)

Bring a pillow

The goat is concerned about the direction of the film

It always surprising when a person tells me they don’t like movies with subtitles. It’s such a bizarre attitude to have, and you’re missing out on many great foreign films.

It always surprising when other critics like boring movies, claiming that you need to be patient, and that the audience is asked to think.

La Quattro Volte is art house crap, plain and simple.

I wasn’t a fan, but this movie makes The Tree of Life feel like Star Wars. And even though I was disappointed with The Tree of Life, at least I was never bored. La Quattro Volte is even more boring than Meek's Cutoff a few months back (and movies don’t get slower than that).

The good news for you haters of subtitles -- this movie doesn’t have any. It’s filmed in around a rustic Italian village, with mountains, and beautiful scenery. Yet, there’s not one word of dialogue in the entire film. The press material said that this deals with “when the soul moves from human to animal to vegetable to mineral and is purified.”

30 minutes of a coughing goat herder, followed by 30 minutes of his goats, followed by about 15 minutes of a tree. The tree gets cut down, used in a ceremony, sold for lumber and made into charcoal, and eventually a hut is built with it. It was a bit more interesting watching the goat before that as it’s born, grows a little, gets separated from his group and stuck in a ditch, before dying near a tree. I was surprisingly touched by that segment.

The goats provided the few humorous moments. One climbs on a table, another knocks a broom to the ground and inspects it. Oh, and let’s not forget the scene of one goat knocking another off a smaller table. If these sound like wonderfully humorous scenes to you, go see this movie.

Written and directed by Michelangelo Frammartino, his simplistic take on the small things unfolding around this town, seems like something better suited for a college film student. The 88 minutes should’ve been cut down to an 18 minute short.

In the New Yorker, critic Richard Brody ended his review of the moving stating, “The complexities of ordinary life don’t fit into Frammartino’s picture-postcard pieties; his sincere but diffuse spirituality is the cinematic equivalent of New Age music.”

If you’re paying $11 to see La Quattro Volte you either have a goat fetish, or you’re just buying into all the pretentious critics praising it. If you bring a date, get those devices they used in A Clockwork Orange that keep the eyes pried open.

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