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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Le Quattro Volte [Blu-ray]

 

(Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Invisibile Film

Video: Lorber Films

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:28:00.316

Disc Size: 20,404,574,082 bytes

Feature Size: 17,558,304,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 13th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio Italian 904 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 904 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Italian 577 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 577 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / Dolby Surround)

 

Subtitles:

None (no dialogue)

 

Extras:

• Trailer (2:07)

• Stills Gallery (5 images)

• Other Lorber Trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times) is an ineffably beautiful meditation on the mysterious cycles of life. Set in Italy's mountainous region of Calabria, it traces the path of one goat-herder's soul, as it passes from human to animal to vegetable to mineral. Director Michelangelo Frammartino was inspired by Pythagoras' belief in ''four-fold transmigration'' of souls, but his film is far more physical than philosophical. In gorgeous long takes he captures the daily routines of the herder, a baby goat, an imperious tree and a humble charcoal kiln. Plus there is a scene-stealing cameo from a stubborn sheepdog, who hilariously interrupts an Easter Procession. Working as both a spiritual investigation and a documentary of Calabrian life, Le Quattro Volte's placid surface hides a complex understanding of humanity. Everything is connected in Frammartino's sublimely mystical universe, in which he finds both humor and pathos in the hypnotic rhythms of everyday life.

***

An old shepherd lives his last days in a quiet medieval village perched high on the hills of Calabria, at the southernmost... tip of Italy. He herds goats under skies that most villagers have deserted long ago. He is sick, and believes to find his medicine in the dust he collects on the church floor, which he drinks in his water every day.

 

 

The Film:

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. In the chaos and instability of today's world, the timelessness of the Caulonian way of life and its closeness to nature is deeply comforting and reassuring — until one learns that in the 20th century Calabria has been the main source of Italian emigration, with an estimated 2.3 million people leaving the region.

Excerpt from L.A. Times located HERE

Le Quattro Volte,” an idiosyncratic and amazing new film by Michelangelo Frammartino, is so full of surprises — nearly every shot contains a revelation, sneaky or overt, cosmic or mundane — that even to describe it is to risk giving something away. At the same time, the nervous reviewer’s convention of posting “spoiler alerts” has rarely seemed so irrelevant. Would I ruin tomorrow by telling you the sun is going to rise? Will your life be spoiled if I divulge that it will end in your death?

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Le Quattro Volte doesn't escalate to breathtaking visual levels on Blu-ray from Lorber although there are no definitive complaints. It's a modest, single-layered transfer that looks very good at times with a high level of detail, in both close-ups and shots of Calabria's farm-laden countryside. Colors seem true but rarely bold and the transfer exports some impressive depth. Black levels are not piercing but seem consistent and functional. Like the film, this Blu-ray has a gentle and realistic feel.  It seems to be supporting the film with a competent, un-manipulated 1080P rendering that produces a thoroughly enjoyable presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Dolby TrueHD surfaces after a lengthy hiatus with a decent 5.1 and 2.0 channel tracks. The lossless tracks are less remarkable than the video but this is not a pointed flaw. The film offers very little in the way of dynamic range, depth or separation. Bombastic audio would not be suitable to the film experience and so the tracks are largely untested in their nature to export aggression. There is no dialogue worth noting and I can't even recall if I saw subtitles even once. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Supplements are limited to a trailer, stills gallery and some Lorber advert trailers. I expect volumes could be shared about the film but being at such a personal level perhaps nothing is more appropriate. Commentaries, analysis and examinations may appear in the decades to come for this masterpiece - after it has a chance to be digested into academia. 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Le Quattro Volte is old-style arthouse filmmaking that harkens to director Frammartino's more famous, shared, first-name colleague. We are effortlessly settled into a comfort region of basic values and simlistic lifestyles - that become addictive to the viewer. This is as masterful a modern film as I have seen in years and while the Blu-ray i
s modest for the format - the cinema overtakes any nitpicking. This is a must-see. Buy now.

Gary Tooze

September 10th, 2011

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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