Review: Four Roads (Le quattro strade)

Written and directed by Alice Rohrwacher, during the COVID-19 pandemic, filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher gets in touch with her neighbourhoods through her photographic lenses.

Lockdown forced filmmakers to get creative, for some it was making stories that could take place regardless of the distance or factoring it in but Rohrwacher took the opportunity to instead explore her surroundings. Constantly being stuck inside caused a lot of people to start doing things they wouldn’t have before, one of which was getting to know your neighbours, a fairly foreign concept to many in today’s world. It’s a kind and friendly idea, and one that warms your heart to see her interactions with these people and learning more about them. Everyone likes to peek behind the curtain of other’s lives, it’s a natural curiosity and these brief 8-minutes satisfy that feeling.

Shooting it on 16mm gives it this immediate 1960s adventure like quality which is blooming with optimism, nostalgia and sentimentality. It’s a joy to watch, it has the feel of blending a documentary with a home video, being open, honest and candid. Admitting herself that she’s unfamiliar with the camera gives it an even more playful and curious feel. The whole atmosphere simply feels like somebody enjoying themselves on a pleasant summer day. It also immediately embodies the shared experience of lockdown.

It’s topped by a score which entirely befits that 1960s feel, it’s playful and light, hitting a note of childhood adventure and naivety. If it weren’t for a couple of inclusions, it could feel timeless, it steps out of the technological world to go back to basics, simply getting to know one another. It has a wonderful simplicity, there’s no layers or psychological games at play, it’s inherently transparent and lovingly so.

Four Roads is sweet, simple and neighbourly, it taps into the natural curiosity to know more about the people around you. It has the tone of a childhood adventure, entering the world with wide open, kind eyes. The use of 16mm is perfect to embrace the sincerity and sentimentality of the film, it harks back to home movies and a 1960s atmosphere. It shows what can happen if you simply pick up the camera and explore, if you choose good shots and edit it together well, it doesn’t need a story, it can work by itself.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯½

Available now on Mubi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s