[Last Film I Saw] The Mill and the Cross (2011)

English Title: The Mill and the Cross
Original Title: Mlyn i krzyz
Year: 2011
Language: English, Spanish
Country: Sweden, Poland
Genre: History, Drama
Director: Lech Majewski
Writers:
Michael Francis Gibson
Lech Majewski
Music: Lech Majewski, Józef Skrzek
Cinematography: Lech Majewski, Adam Sikora
Cast:
Rutger Hauer
Charlotte Rampling
Michael York
Marian Makula
Joanna Litwin
Dorota Lis
Rating: 4.3/10

Another Febiofest screening, Polish director Lech Majewski gave a brief introduction of the film before the screening and stressed on how strenuously the film had been produced, after a four-year span (mostly for post-production and animation) and ultimately mentioned that the pictorial sky in the film was specifically shot in New Zealand. (Thus we should sense some preciousness or reverence?)

The film reconstructs Flemish maestro Pieter Bruegel’s masterpiece “TTHE PROCESSION TO CALVARY” in a fictional plot of the tribulation of Christian religion, maybe I was the wrong audience there, besides an initiative appreciation of all the tableaux’s verisimilitude, the film utterly eludes me.

The re-enact of Jesus Christ’s affliction is no more dauntless than Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004), utilizing a medium of film technology to reproduce a painting is not an enlightened idea, though film industry welcomes all clutches of experimentation, but does it worth all the investment to produce such a hollow replica apart from an overt religious purpose? Also the taciturn words also scotch the aid from a venerable cast, whose theatrical delivery is being mainly delimited.

From a technical angle, the gauche SFX is a far cry from top notch, some CGI blemishes could be well-conceived by any spectator, one embarrassing moment arrives when all actors are frozen into a stop-motion pause, all the horses could not stay put as their human counterparts, their carefree optimism may betray that great paintings are earnestly not in need of any reinterpretation and an overstatedly pedagogic preaching cannot service the aim of converting a person’s religious belief, while the film clearly cannot differ idiosyncrasy from ridicule and its excess of self-esteem only stands for a superfluous waste of energy, time and funds.

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