The Mill and the Cross

Synopsis: The film focuses on a dozen of the 500 characters depicted in Bruegel's painting. The theme of Christ's suffering is set against religious persecution in Flanders in 1564.
Genre: Drama, History
Director(s): Lech Majewski
Production: Kino Lorber
  10 wins & 7 nominations.
 
IMDB:
6.9
Metacritic:
80
Rotten Tomatoes:
78%
Year:
2011
92 min
$185,261
Website
11 Views

So

So this could be a group of

saints returning from the past

to mourn the present

fate of Flanders.

Yes.

And when the painting is done,

you may have it

if you wish.

Why did you do that?

Don't speak... No.

Line up!

I can't abide by these

high-handed methods.

At times I can barely contain myself.

These foreign mercenaries

in their red tunics

are here to do the bidding of their

Spanish masters who lorded over us.

Every day, their manners remain

a stench in the nostrils.

And an of fence to pride,

to Christian humility

and common sense itself.

I'm a citizen of Antwerp.

A banker of repute.

Collector of paintings.

I'm also a member of the

'Schola Caritatis'.

A brotherhood men of all confessions

without requiring them to abjure.

I believe, and many others in this

magnificent city also believe

that good men of all

confessions can come together

in peace and good understanding.

And...

that is not the opinion

of the king of Spain,

who is also our king, alas.

It is now his pleasure that all

heritage should be put to death.

The men by decapitation,

and the women

women...

I have seen it...

I have seen it all.

My painting will have

to tell many stories.

It should be large enough

to hold everything.

Everything, all the people.

There must be a hundred of them.

I will work like the spider I saw

this morning building its web.

First...

...it finds an anchoring point.

Here, the heart of my web.

Below the grindstone of events

our Saviour is being ground

like grain, mercilessly.

I was shown

our Saviour being led to Golgotha

by the red tunics of the Spanish

militia.

Although he has fallen at

the center of my painting,

I must hide him from the eye.

Why would you want to hide him?

Because he is the most important.

But you might have missed it.

Now if you look here,

Simon is taken away from Esther

to help carry the cross.

And they all look at Simon,

not at the Saviour.

Then there is a mill,

based on a rock.

It is the axis around which all the

people circle between Life and Death.

The miller just stands there,

looking down on everything.

Why have you put him so high up?

In most paintings,

God is shown parting the clouds,

looking down on the

worid in displeasure.

In my painting,

the miller will take his place.

He is the great miller of the Heaven

grinding the bread of

Life and Destiny.

The bread...

The bread is then carried

around by the pedlar

sitting here.

Hoorah!

Here is the city.

It forms a circle within its walls.

The circle of Life.

And next to it is the tree of Life

with fresh leaves.

On the other side is a black circle.

The circle of Death.

It's formed by the crowd gathering

around the execution like flies.

And here below is the tree of Death.

A horse's skull next to it.

And the two men,

You and I.

Nothing is going to happen.

When I think about yesterday,

when he walked into town,

strolled out onto

the Cathedral square

and spoke his mind.

How they listened.

How they cheered.

How enthralled they all were.

Even the soldiers.

And now that we're walking through

the streets in a trance,

the same soldiers who

cheered him yesterday

came out to arrest him last night.

The same crowd that

listened enthralled

has been screaming for

his head all morning.

Nothing was going to happen.

Look at the mother of the

condamned man

and his friends.

Do you remember the

"Adoration of the Magi"?

I did it earlier this year.

My wife served as the model

for the Mother of God.

I'm sure you recognized her.

It was just after she gave

birth to little Peter.

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Michael Francis Gibson

Michael Francis Gibson (18 July 1929 – 7 June 2017) was an American art critic, art historian, writer and independent scholar, who published regularly in the International Herald-Tribune, 1969–2004 and occasionally in other publications in English (the New York Times, Art in America, Art News), and French (L’Oeil, Connaissance des Arts etc.,). From 1956, Gibson published a number of books, articles, essays and poems in both English and French. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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