Watch The Mill and the Cross
- 1 hr 32 min
The Mill and the Cross is a strikingly original film that interweaves art and history, taking viewers on a journey through Pieter Bruegel's 1564 painting, "The Way to Calvary." The film is directed by Lech Majewski and stars Rutger Hauer, Michael York, and Charlotte Rampling. Set in 16th-century Flanders during the Spanish Inquisition, the film unfolds as a series of meticulously composed tableaux. We see Bruegel (Hauer) at work in his studio, sketching out the painting with his apprentices, gathering reference material from the countryside, and interacting with his patrons. We see the peasants of the village as they go about their daily lives, trudging through the snow, tending to their livestock, and carrying out their meager existence amidst the harsh realities of the time.
But at the center of it all is the painting itself, which serves as a sort of visual anchor for the film. Majewski's camera lingers over every detail, every brushstroke and color choice, so that we feel like we are inside the painting itself. We see the figures of Christ and the various characters from the Bible as if they were moving and breathing in real life. In many ways, the film is a meditation on the power of art and its ability to capture the complexities and contradictions of the human experience.
The Mill and the Cross is a challenging and provocative film, one that asks a lot of its viewers, both intellectually and emotionally. But it is also a richly rewarding experience, one that opens up a new way of seeing the world and the ways in which art and history are intertwined. It is a testament to the power of the cinematic medium to bring the past to life and to provoke us to see the world in a new way.
Throughout the film, the viewer is invited to contemplate the implications of Bruegel's painting and the historical context in which it was created. We see the Inquisition in action, burning heretics and rooting out dissenters, and we witness the ways in which ordinary people were caught up in these terrible events. At the same time, we see Bruegel and his fellow artists struggling to remain true to their vision and to their craft, even as they confront the harsh realities of their world.
The performances in the film are uniformly excellent, with Hauer in particular delivering a memorable turn as the enigmatic Bruegel. York and Rampling also shine in their respective roles, adding depth and nuance to the film's complex narrative. The cinematography is equally impressive, with Majewski using lighting, composition, and camera movement to create a sense of depth and texture in every shot.
Overall, The Mill and the Cross is a fascinating and deeply thought-provoking film, one that rewards repeated viewings and careful contemplation. It is a testament to the power of art to transform our understanding of the past and to illuminate our perceptions of the present. Whether you are a lover of art, history, or cinema, this film is not to be missed.
The Mill and the Cross is a 2011 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 80.