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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Mill & the Cross -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    When I see a production like The Mill & the Cross, directed by Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski, whose works cut a swath across varying areas of art, I often think about precisely what it is that I'm viewing.


    Certainly nothing real.


    Similar to the digital shots used in cable productions such as The Tudors and The Borgias, The Mill & the Cross is a hybrid of Red-captured imagery of actors, and various layers of digital data.


    While it didn't begin its life as a "film," as there was no film involved, it does end up as a motion picture.


    Based upon the book of the same name by Michael Gibson, it opens the world as captured by Flemish artist Peter Bruegel the Elder -- The Way to Calvary (1564). A blend of religious -- Christ's Passion -- and the historical, the mis-treatment of the people of Flanders by their Spanish ruler.


    Centering around an odd mill, perched high atop a tower of natural stone, Bruegel, played by Rutger Hauer, takes us through the creation of his work, basing his artistic philosophy upon the same mechanism by which a spider creates a web.


    The look, the textures, image resolution and various layers of the real combined with the digital world of the painting, make this production very unlike anything I've seen.


    More than anything, it is an artistic experience, and a kind of trip.


    This Blu-ray, released by Kino Lorber, makes it a trip worth taking.


    A beautiful Blu-ray. A very unique experience, that draws the viewer not only into the painting, but into the daily lives of the down-trodden people of Flanders.


    It is definitely worth one's while to check out the works of Bruegel, many of which can be found on line, to see precisely how his images combine the natural with the fantasmagorical.


    Highly Recommended.


    RAH
     
  2. Dan_Shane

    Dan_Shane Well-Known Member

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    Mr Harris,


    I too was enthralled by this film, and its presentation on Blu-ray is quite gorgeous. Like the painting it is based on, it raises more questions than it answers. In this case that is a good thing; true art should always inspire increased curiosity and conjecture.


    Lech Majewski allows the viewer to wander around in the painting (he depicts artist Bruegel doing exactly that), bringing the masterpiece to life in more ways than is immediately obvious. And though I understood very well the historical setting of the painting I had the uncomfortable feeling I was watching behaviors far from uncommon today.


    One more comment: The audio on the disc is just as hypnotic as the visuals. Though very little sound familiar to our time is present, I was astonished at the aural experience of life in the 16th Century.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Totally agree in terms of aural qualities. First thing of which I became aware was the sound of wooden shoes.
     
  4. SeanAx

    SeanAx Well-Known Member

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    I love the way Majewski uses CGI not simply to place actors within the paintings, but to essentially cut and paste photographed reality into a flattened collage that resembles the stacking of images in depth (but without a sense of three-point perspective) of Bruegel's paintings. It defies the realism of photography to create a cinematic analog to the style of painting in the era, and to suggest the mind's eye of the artist "seeing" the painting out of the pieces of his world.


    A side-note: Majewski found a real medieval mill and had it repaired to working order for this film. So while he used the technology to transform the real into the recreated to suggest the artist's work, he contrasted those images with stunning photography of a real mill in action, lit like a Dutch master's painting but with the sense of space preserved and celebrated. Like the wind through the grass and the peasants walking through the meadows, it offers a sense of what the day-to-day life for the working folk Flanders might have been like.


    Superb film and a superb Blu-ray.
     
  5. Richard Kaufman

    Richard Kaufman Well-Known Member

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    I noticed the sound of the wooden shoes almost immediately as well. A tremendous film in so many ways. Bravo to Kino for bringing it out on blu-ray with a wonderful presentation (and so nice to see Rutger Hauer in a decent film for a change).
     
  6. Greg_D_R

    Greg_D_R Well-Known Member

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    You know, I haven't seen The Mill and the Cross yet, but I was just thinking how there's a certain beautiful symmetry to Rutger Hauer's work in something so intentionally artistic, and something so intentionally trashy as Hobo with a Shotgun, a movie I enjoyed very much. I think we're lucky to see him continue to do good work, at both ends of the spectrum.
     
  7. Richard Kaufman

    Richard Kaufman Well-Known Member

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    Ha! I was given free access to Netflix on demand for a month, and one of the films I watched was Hobo with a Shotgun. Rutger rocked it ... and then he turned around and did Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Amazing. HE should be case in the sequel/remake (or whatever the heck it is) to Blade Runner. Even though his character dies in the orignal, he was a replicant, and there could have been more than one of that model, and he might have succeeded in his quest for living past his built-in termination. Imagine an old Roy Batty.
     

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