The Mill and the Cross
by Lech Majewski
Pieter Bruegel’s 1564 epic masterpiece, The Procession to Calvary, portrays Jesus staggering to his crucifixion, lost in a panoramic landscape crowded with hundreds of villagers and red-caped horsemen. In depicting Jesus’ plight as one among many vignettes, while soldiers on horseback loom threateningly, Bruegel boldly transposes Christ’s passion and death to sixteenth-century Flanders—a time when the Belgian people were suffering terribly under brutal Spanish occupation. Now Poland filmmaker Lech Majewski translates The Procession to Calvary into cinema, mischievously inviting the viewer to live inside the aesthetic universe of the painting as we watch it being created. As various lives unfold within the film frame, Bruegel, too, appears as a character, capturing shards of their desperate stories on his canvas-in-the-making.