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The Mill and the Cross2011

  • 4.1
THE MILL AND THE CROSS is a "film of great beauty and attention" (Roger Ebert) that stunningly recreates one of the great masterpieces of painting, Pieter Bruegel the Elder's "The Way to Calvary." Lech Majewski brings the viewer inside the painting with immersive period detail and jaw-dropping digital effects. The daily life of 16th-century Flanders is rendered with astounding vividness, from the routine of the windmill caretaker to the crusading Spanish militia, who abuse Protestants with brutally violent tactics. Rutger Hauer stars as Bruegel himself, touring inside his own canvas and discussing the origin of his work while his wealthy patron, Nicolaes Jonghelinck, bemoans the state of his disintegrating country. The film also features Charlotte Rampling as the Virgin Mary.

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Official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.


3 members like this review

Just spectacular. This film captures the visual feel and the demented tone of a Bruegel painting perfectly. Despite being nothing more nor less than an animated adaptation of a still artwork, it is thoroughly compelling.

If you haven't seen Jackson's "Lord of the Rings", try "Mill and the Cross" instead: it has the same stunning New Zealand scenery and oddly similar themes, including a crucified Frodo and the miller as all-seeing Sauron, but taking only a trim 95 minutes.

But seriously, nothing really compares to this film. It offers unexpected insight into its subject, and it will stay with you.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (18)

9f1f2077d60b214c55e0a0092370f8a6?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0031
top reviewer

I saw this film once on the big screen, once on DVD, and again tonight. This is a film that begs to be "studied". Every frame is "suitable for framing". Each frame is another brushstroke. This film accumulates in your mind, like a long exposure photograph. Magicly lit, and shot, to reproduce the entire effect of the actual painting. As a painter and a cineast, I would say this is a must see "ART" film. Step inside another time and space.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

Just spectacular. This film captures the visual feel and the demented tone of a Bruegel painting perfectly. Despite being nothing more nor less than an animated adaptation of a still artwork, it is thoroughly compelling.

If you haven't seen Jackson's "Lord of the Rings", try "Mill and the Cross" instead: it has the same stunning New Zealand scenery and oddly similar themes, including a crucified Frodo and the miller as all-seeing Sauron, but taking only a trim 95 minutes.

But seriously, nothing really compares to this film. It offers unexpected insight into its subject, and it will stay with you.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

Not just based on a Breugel painting,every shot is composed like a Dutch or Flemish Renaissance painting! Which is a really great gimmick they musta used computers and stuff, but I am sure I would not want to see this style of cinema over-used.And this film doesn't get 5 stars, cuz it really IS a gimmick, crafty and beautiful.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

Beautiful, a painting becomes fluid and comes to life. Amazing undertaking full of detail.

2 members like this review

Is Magic! Great film! thank you

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Unspeakably attracting, the movie inhabits a painting, bringing it to dramatic life and even speech, so that your eye longs to return to the original painting, its multitudinous lives. Yes, a few of Charlotte Rampling's short speeches could have been trimmed and, most certainly, the one-time Renaisancey music; but as a vast whole, the movie stands as a vast tribute commanding attention to itself.

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top reviewer

Impressive

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top reviewer

really beautiful film beautifully done_so glad i'm alive now & not then_what a weird place & time_everyone is wonderful in it_the pacing is great 4 1/2

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top reviewer

I thought this a stunning movie, basically recreating and detailing a 1564 painting by Bruegel. Many of the scenes are just stuningly beautiful. I was so impressed I went out and bought a copy of the painting.

Although there were elements of it that I liked very much, the overall effect would have been better achieved by simply going to the museum in Vienna and gazing into the painting for the same length of time (or less) as the film. That or watching a traditionally shot film with more of a linear story fleshed out, if only by way of dialogue, since it seemed to want to fulfill that implied obligation anyway. Obviously, the costumes, the locations and the acting were solid; but it seems the computer-generated and green-screen techniques came off only as middling demonstrations of unnecessary tools, with objects in the foregrounds overly sharp and objects and people in the distance improperly foreshortened. Less could have proven to be more. Its best moments shone when the camera work and fine lighting caught those crucial middle distances of haze or perspective that were otherwise lost whenever the aforementioned techniques were applied arbitrarily. The three main actors' voices were solid, even moving.

This is a very beautiful film, worth watching, worth thought. I did not like the short intervals intended to context. I thought them interruptive. Yes, as a filmmaker, I tied to think out what I would have done, and I did not come up with a more reasonable answer, one that would solve a issue of time. If you love film and love art, see this film.

Primarily a visual experience.

Agreed. This isn't a perfect film, but it is something you want to check out. Rutger Hauer's suble performance carries this film, or perhaps should I say, moving picture. I have no art history under my belt, but after this was over, I did want to visit the actual painting and see for myself. There's no real plot, but that's not the point. Worth at least one uninterrupted watch.

This was a movie juxtaposing the baser human actions and emotions with that of poignant, ever hopeful endeavors of mankind.

Stunning.

Each scene is framed as if it was part of a living painting. Every now and then Bruegel wanders through its midst explaining the undertones. Visually interesting and at times mesmerizing. However, not a lot of dialog.

Wow I was tired-then couldn't sleep until finished. Thank you.

Literally, a moving painting. Beautifully done. A most unusual art film.