Lech Majewski‘s 2011 feature The Mill and the Cross expertly adapts / dramatizes the making of Pieter Bruegel’s 1564 masterpiece The Way to Cavalry. Official synopsis can be read as follows:
“From Lech Majewski, one of Poland’s most adventurous and inspired filmmakers, comes a visually ravishing recreation of Pieter Bruegel’s epic 1564 painting “The Way to Cavalry,” presented alongside the story of its creation — with Rutger Hauer as Bruegel, Michael York as his friend and art collector, and Charlotte Rampling as the inspiration for his Virgin Mary.
With this fantastically talented cast, as well an enormously complex and imaginative digital tapestry, Majewski takes the audience through Bruegel’s depiction of the story of Christ’s Passion, set in Flanders under brutal Spanish occupation in the year 1564.
From the more than five hundred figures that fill Bruegel’s 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. We are invited to live inside the aesthetic universe of the painting as we watch Bruegel himself at work on his canvas, weaving the web of his painting and piecing together his sketches. Majewski’s captivating visual effects, combining live actors with location footage and striking painted backdrops, create layer upon layer with which to explore and expand upon the narrative in Bruegel’s work.
“The Mill & The Cross” was inspired by Michael Francis Gibson’s book of the same name, a fascinating study of “The Way to Calvary” and the moment in history in which Bruegel painted.”
Cinematically beautiful trailer embedded down below: