We began Lent with a meditation by the late Dominican priest, Fr. Michael Morris, OP, on the Pieter Bruegel the Elder painting, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent. Now, approaching the annual Paschal drama beginning with Palm Sunday it seemed appropriate to frame this pandemic stricken Lenten 40 days with another reflection on a painting by Bruegel, The Procession to Calvary.
The 2011 movie by Lech Majewski, The Mill & the Cross, uses cinematic magic to layer real actors into the scenes depicted in the painting. Here the Pascal drama is presented in 16th century Netherlands. Majewski’s interpretation is based on his own life long appreciation of Bruegel’s work aided by the masterful academic and artful in depth study by Michael Francis Gibson. The acting by Rutger Hauer as Bruegel and Michael York as his wealthy patron provide almost the only dialogue as Majewski lets the images and soundtrack tell much of the story as seems right in a movie so embedded in a painting. There is a brief scene of non-sexualized female nudity in the early part of the film.
The movie is available to stream on Amazon/Fandor as well as other streaming sites.