In rural Italy, an ailing goatherder (Fuda) tends to his flock until he passes away quietly in his sleep one evening. Coincidentally (or not), a kid is born the next morning. A few months later, the young goat gets separated from the herd and eventually lies down at the base of a fir tree and dies. That fir grows and is appropriated by the nearby town for use in a massive Christmas festival. Once over, it's chopped into pieces, burnt, and made into charcoal, a process that allows some of its essence to escape into the air. These four seemingly disparate occurrences are woven together into a single tale that suggests the possibility of reincarnation and affirms the interconnectedness of all things in the natural world.
This restrained, lyrical film presents a disarming meditation on the natural rhythms and passages of life. Using next to no dialogue and only a few long, carefully choreographed shots, Frammartino has crafted a serene visual journey that feels totally unique. It encourages you to drink in a procession of simple moments that you'd barely note in real life; however, their examination here builds to something quite profound. To his credit, the director also injects some dry, subtle comedy into the proceedings and uses his camera to romance the rustic beauty of the Calabrian countryside. As its title suggests, here's a film worth seeing not just once, but four times.