Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Summary: Pieter Bruegel’s epic masterpiece The Way To Calvary depicts the story of Christ’s Passion set in Flanders under brutal Spanish occupation in the year 1564, the very year Bruegel created his
    painting. From among the more than five hundred figures that fill Bruegel’s remarkable canvas, The
    Mill & The Cross focuses on a dozen characters whose life stories unfold and intertwine in a panoramic landscape populated by villagers and red-caped horsemen. Among them are Bruegel himself, his friend and art collector Nicholas Jonghelinck, and the Virgin Mary. (Silesia Film) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 19, 2011
    Here is a film of great beauty and attention, and watching it is a form of meditation. Sometimes films take a great stride outside the narrow space of narrative tradition and present us with things to think about. Here mostly what I thought was, why must man sometimes be so cruel?
  2. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Sep 14, 2011
    While it's far from easy going, The Mill And The Cross is worth attempting for its stunning visuals alone.
  3. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Oct 20, 2011
    The Mill and the Cross captures the wish that some of us have had while standing in front of a great painting. What hangs before us is so striking, beautiful, strange, vast, horrifying, ethereal, lifelike - so alive - that we're desperate to enter the other side of the canvas, to be inside the painting.
  4. Reviewed by: Daniel M. Gold
    Sep 13, 2011
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Oct 20, 2011
    Majewski's film is a captivating exercise that will interest fans of art, not to mention arthouse cinema. But the movie's lasting impression is about more than novelty. It's a portrait of suffering and subjugation that urges viewers to stop what they're doing and take notice of the world around them.
  6. Reviewed by: Lauren Wissot
    Sep 11, 2011
    Every bit as visceral an experience as Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and with a lead actor whose face radiates the same eternal quality as that of the late Klaus Kinski, The Mill and The Cross also feels a lot like live theater.
  7. Reviewed by: Neil Young
    Sep 12, 2011
    If ever a film cried out for the 3D treatment, it's The Mill & the Cross, an ambitious but frustratingly flat attempt to explore, analyze and dramatize a masterpiece of 16th-century art.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Oct 17, 2011
    The Mill and the Cross is a movie inside of a painting, specifically The Way to Calvary (1564) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Pieter Bruegel (Rutger Hauer) is the main character in the film which takes turns following him as he decides how his painting will take shape and who will be in it and also follows the local peasants who go about their daily business in middle of 16th century Flanders. The background is always the actual paintingâ Expand
  2. Feb 15, 2012
    I don't think it's appropriate to expect a narrative from a snapshot - an allegorical snapshot at that - conveying the spiritual cosmology of peasants in the Renaissance. We might as well go to a movie based on "The Persistence of Memory" expecting to get a melodrama about a Spanish watchmaker on LSD. How banal would that be? For me it's enough that the film immerses us in Brueghel's world, from the mud to the heavens, and successfully communicates something of its way of life and thought across an almost interplanetary gulf of psychological distance, through the imagination of the artist. Expand
  3. CMC
    Oct 14, 2011
    Short review: Commendable idea and effort that is in the end disappointing and tedious.
    Longer review: This film is an attempt to capture in
    film *something* from a painting. This is the problem: it never figure out what it is trying to do, or how to do it. There are many hints of possible approaches, and some are very interesting. The least interesting is the use of the painter doing first-person narration, explaining the painting (and some of the elements of the movie.) It get worse when it is a weak dialogue between the painter and one other person inquiring about the painting. As for the interesting stuff, many scenes have a visual flatness that very successfully look like a painting. A few don't work well and look like badly registered 90's green-screen, but many are interesting. There are slow pans, with some people moving and others frozen, all with a strange light. This all looks good, but cannot hold interest long and does not a movie make. Then there a few "scenes" that are really good; in particular one with evocative light where kids are pillow-fighting in some dingy farm room. The sound is good here- kids yelling, but no real coherence, no discernible word spoken. Another great scene that suggests a very different direction the film could have taken occurs at the end of the film, where all the people dance in a strange way that is suggested by a Bruegal painting. There are other parts of the film where people move and act strangely, and this all works well. Another successful aspect is how characters seem to perform their roles with a sense of inevitability. This mimics well the sense of these paintings that a drama is unfolding and that everyone is performing a role, without much individual personality. I easily imagine that the filmmaker did not know what to expect, and when the edit was done it was too late to go back and do it right. Too bad. I give it a rating of seven because it is an admirable pursuit, far from conventional filmmaking. As entertainment, it is a 1. Unfortunately, it is hard to watch to the end, and this is not in a good way that I say this. Most people will not like this film. Expand
  4. Jan 10, 2012
    A great artistic movie that is easier to admire as a novel art movie but that does not meen it is easy to like. I found it very difficult to be engaged into the film nothing was relatable. It was a tough sit but overall it had some very well directed and well thought out shots. My favourite being the one at the end of the film of the painting in the museum. Expand
  5. Apr 24, 2014
    An art movie about the 16th century's arts. It was based on the book of the same name which details the landscaper Pieter Bruegel's painting 'The Procession to Calvary'. A movie specially made for classical painting lovers.

    The movie had very less talkings and everything should be learnt by watching the pictures which depicts painting like series of frames. So there's nothing much to talk about the movie. One of the best ever production designs. Frankly, I was less enjoyed due to lack of knowledge about Bruegel, but glad I saw it and come to know few things about 1500s culture through his paintings.

    After all, I was not stranger to 'The Procession to Calvary' only by a few weeks before watching this movie. Recently I saw a movie called 'Museum Hours' and it helped a bit to understand this movie. In that movie a guide, an expert briefs in a scene about this painting and the reason behind it.

    It was a very unique movie, which still won't exactly portray as it had happened. A glimpse about the idea of it might have been like that. More like an imaginary world created behind the magnificent art work. Not suitable for all, especially those who watch movies for entertainment should stay away from it.
  6. Oct 22, 2011
    This literal and slavish reproduction of the painting was impressive in its verisimilitude but ultimately pointless.There is no character, no narrative, no emotion in this piece, but there is lots of wooden "acting". Watch Greenaway and Jarman for far more interesting, subtle, inspiring films on symbolism, painting, and the artistic impulse. Expand