Four Centuries in the Making

Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s The Way to Calvary hangs proudly at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Though the incredibly detailed 1564 oil painting is breathtaking in person, the Flemish Renaissance painter’s masterpiece comes to life even more vividly in filmmaker Lech Majewski’s The Mill and the Cross.

The film is an adaptation of art critic’s Michael Francis Gibson’s book of the same name and stars Charlotte Rampling, Michael York, and Rutger Hauer. Set in 16th-century Antwerp, The Mill and the Cross is less about Bruegel than about The Way to Calvary itself, focusing on 12 of the 500 characters depicted in the painting.

It’s an incredibly surreal film that visually stimulates the mind the way Bruegel intended with his brilliant artwork more than 600 years ago. It quickly became one of the buzzworthiest films of 2011 when it premiered at Sundance a year ago, and this Monday, it will play at the Miami Beach Cinematheque.
Jan. 16-18, 6:40 & 8:30 p.m., 2012


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