The Mill and the Cross
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What would it be like to step inside a great work of art, have it come alive around you, and even observe the artist as he sketches the very reality you are experiencing? Lech Majewski brings to life Pieter Bruegel's masterpiece, The Way to Calvary, the story of the crucifixion, setting it in 16th century Flanders under brutal Spanish occupation. Rutger Hauer plays the artist, Michael York his patron, and Charlotte Rampling the Virgin Mary. As epic events unfold, bawdy country living continues unabated: couples entwine, musicians play wind instruments, peasants amuse themselves walking on stilts, and children scurry about. Using sophisticated computer technology, the filmmaker creates a brilliantly complex and fascinating multi-layered dreamscape that melds art, history, and religion with the quotidian joys and struggles of ordinary people.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 41
- Fresh: 32
- Rotten: 9
- Average Rating: 7.4/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: In this lush and hypnotic examination of a painter's work and the times in which he lived, Mr. Majewski presents an extended contemplation of the creative process itself.
Fresh: Neither conventional costume drama nor abstract objet d'art, this visually ravishing, surprisingly beguiling gamble won't fit any standard arthouse niche.
Rotten: This attempt to explore and dramatize a masterpiece of 16th-century art falls flat.
Fresh: An extraordinary example of both art-historical interpretation and CGI as passport to unknown lands, The Mill and the Cross... is a moving-image tribute to the still image, with its ability to "wrestle the senseless moment to the ground."
Strangely beautiful...a moving and inspiring experience
Not for the faint of heart, but a touching, powerful, awful, peaceful portrait Christ's sacrifice!
I saw the first 15 min of this movie, then i fell asleep in my chair.
Gorgeous and Enveloping
What a film. A meditation on life itself. It explores the Spanish Inquisition from a perspective and tone I don't think I've ever quit felt from a film, and does so brilliantly, with very moving results. Quiet, intense, full of lush and evocative images shot rendered brilliantly through exquisite cinematography. This film feels miraculous in the strangest way, while turning your attention toward the horror and inhumanity of the Inquisition, and mankind in general, it is simultaneously suffused with such luminosity, such a peculiar humility and reverie, that I found myself transported in an almost singular fashion.
This film set a new standard for me, as a viewer, in some ways. Like, what can actually be done in a film, emotionally, artistically, with little dialogue. It also made me wonder what the films of other directors could be like (Von Trier, Lynch, etc) if they had a mysticism that included more, filled with not only the darkness and fever-dream of our human experience, but also its divine and mysterious Presence. This film really feels like it captures and conveys all of that, and so deftly. The feeling I took away was mankind's sickness, but also our divinity, and that neither cancelled or qualified the intensity of the other.
Highly recommend !