The Four Times
This wonderful film follows the life of an elderly goatherd and his herd. The goats are full of character, specially when they are young (there is a wonderful scene where a newly born goat joins the other very new kids for the first time and they all start playing together, leaping around in their barn and exploring the world around them). The goatherd is helped in his job by a bossy and opinionated dog, who chases everyone and everything and in one pivotal scene causes absolute chaos, in which the goats escape to cause their own chaos.
The film is beautifully meditative, focussing on the hillside scenery, the sounds of the goats and their bells, the colours of the buildings in the village and the texture of lichens on tree trunks. The viewer becomes immersed in a very rural life, which is probably at risk of disappearing.
Three quarters of the way through the film things do disappear in fact. The goatherd dies and his goats are tended by someone else. One of the kids gets lost in the woods and then suddenly the focus of the film shifts to the local charcoal burners and doesn't return to the goats. So the viewer is left wondering whether the lost kid was ever found and in fact what was the fate of the herd itself without its goatherd?
Le quattro volte is on at the Filmhouse, Edinburgh until Thursday 2 June.
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