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The Mill and the Cross aka "Mlyn i krzyz" [Blu-ray]
(Lech Majewski, 2011)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Telewizja Polska (TVP)
Video: Zebra (DMMS Media Distribution)
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 30,026,932,416 bytes
Feature Size: 19,852,462,080 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.39 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080i / 25 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio Polish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), Polish, French, none
• Interview with Lech Majewski (English with Polish subtitles - 20:46)
• Lech Majewski "Moving Walls" (English with Polish subtitles - 21:37)
• Photo Art (4:34)
• Art Construction sample (:23)
• Scene (2:39)
• Gallery (3:11)
The cover is in Polish only
Description: From acclaimed filmmaker, Lech Majewski, comes THE MILL AND THE CROSS, a visually inspired re-staging of Pieter Bruegel's epic 1564 painting ''Way to Calvary'', presented alongside the story of its creation -- with Rutger Hauer (Hobo With a Shotgun) as Bruegel, Michael York (Logan's Run) as his friend and art collector, and Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter) as the inspiration for his Virgin Mary.
Lech Majewski directed this visually striking examination of the nexus between art and politics in the 16th century. In 1564, the Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel created one of his best-known and most controversial works, "The Procession to Calvary," in which Christ, carrying his cross, makes his way to his own crucifixion though a crowded landscape that features representations of hundreds of historic and contemporary figures. The painting was a biting commentary on political matters of the day as well as a satiric view of religion, and in The Mill & the Cross, Majewski re-creates the making of Bruegel's masterpiece, as the artist (played by Rutger Hauer) stages the images and explains their meanings while we learn more about the individuals depicted and the people who posed for the work, many of whom have their own stories to tell. Using digital imaging technology, The Mill & the Cross allows viewers to enter into Bruegel's painting as the static figures come to life. Also starring Charlotte Rampling and Michael York, The Mill & the Cross received its American premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
There are scenes of unhurried domesticity—a man selling bread on a hillside, a piper, grain being ground. And there are scenes of matter-of-fact violence, from a man tied to wheel on a stake being eaten by crows to another accused heretic being buried alive. As Hauer explains, the mill, atop its strange perch, stands in for the viewpoint of an impassive God. Similarly, the even tone with which The Mill And The Cross takes in these events can be seen as representing the same distance, the world far below, the small people, and even their potential savior. The images become pieces of Bruegel’s painting, a panorama both mundane and fantastic, while a motif of frames—shots seen through archways, doors, and barred windows—reminds viewers of the source for the film’s visual long before it pulls out to reveal the finished work, hanging in a museum gallery.Excerpt from The Onion A.V. Club located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, The Mill and the Cross is a Polish-Swedish co-production and is available in many jurisdictions on Blu-ray, but I only own this version and presume the quality may be similar elsewhere. The film is mostly in English with some sporadic Spanish and Flemish spoken.
This is an incredibly striking film on Blu-ray even in 1080i (interlaced). The film was shot digitally (Red One Camera) and I'll make the assumption this is an accurate representation of that original image quality. It is neither glossy or waxy in appearance. Detail and colors are very impressive - as evidenced by the screen captures below. The technical achievement of blending the art and live action plus the incredibly impressive art direction's painterly colors are so deep, rich and vivid makes it desirable, simply based on appearnce, for art devotees everywhere. This Blu-ray has a wonderfully crisp feel with no 'combing' artifacts due to the interlacing. I thought it looked amazing.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The score is by the director and Józef Skrzek but what sounds most impressive via the standard Dolby options (5.1 surround and 2.0 channel stereo in English) is Henryk Mikołaj Górecki's Misererere, OP. 44 by the Silesia Philharmonic Choir and Antonio Lotti's similar piece by Christ the King Cathedral Choir. There are optional English, Polish or French subtitles for the feature and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
There are some English-friendly supplements including 2 interviews with the director Lech Majewski running over 40-minutes including an in-depth discussion of the technique used to achieve the film's lauded appearance. Together they run over 40-minutes and have imposed Polish subtitles. There are other extras including 5-minutes of Photo Art, a brief Art Construction sample, a scene and a gallery. The cover/box is in Polish only.
July 13th, 2015
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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