Le Quattro Volte
In the backcountry of southern Italy's mountainous region of Calabria, an old shepherd leads his flock to pasture along paths in the hills which have fallen into disuse. Every morning, the church housekeeper trades a handful of the church's dust for some of the shepherd's fresh milk. Every evening, the elderly shepherd dissolves the "magic" powder in water and drinks this mixture to remedy his aches and pains. One day, he doesn't show up for their trade. The next day, he dies in his bed as his goats keep vigil over his passing. A kid takes its first steps, but he is slower than the rest of the flock and falls behind. He falls into a ditch in the middle of the forest. Unable to climb out, he bleats for help, but neither the new shepherd, nor his dog, hear him. The flock leaves the kid in their wake, leaving him to his fate. When he finally emerges from the ditch, he finds that he is alone. He wanders aimlessly until, as night begins to fall, he stumbles onto a majestic fir tree in which he seeks shelter. The following spring, the village residents come to fell this tree for the annual 'Pita' festivities which have taken place there for centuries. They saw off its branches and carry its stately trunk back to the village where it is erected in the main square. Once the village festivities are over, the trunk of the fir tree is sold to charcoal makers. It is then cut into logs and used to build the hearth and chimney of the charcoal kiln where it will also be burned as fuel. The kiln, which has been covered in straw and clay, is lit and begins to smoke. Once the fire has gone out, this time-old technique, which has been passed down from generation to generation, will have transformed the living, vegetable matter of the wood into an inert, mineral matter which is brittle and crumbles easily: charcoal. Our sight gets lost in the ashes' smoke. Le Quattro Volte is a poetic vision of the revolving cycles of life and nature and the unbroken traditions of a timeless place. The story of one soul that moves through four successive lives.
Starring Giuseppe Fuda, Bruno Timpano, Nazareno Timpano
Director Michelangelo Frammartino