The Mill and the Cross

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The Mill and the Cross
The Mill and the Cross.jpg
Directed byLech Majewski
Written byMichael Francis Gibson
Lech Majewski
Produced byGeorge Lekovic
Lech Majewski
Freddy Olsson
Dorota Roszkowska
StarringRutger Hauer
Charlotte Rampling
Michael York
CinematographyLech Majewski
Adam Sikora
Edited byEliot Ems
Norbert Rudzik
Music byLech Majewski
Józef Skrzek
Angelus Silesius
Telewizja Polska
Arkana Studio
Bokomotiv Filmproduktion
Release dates
  • 23 January 2011 (2011-01-23) (Sundance)
  • 18 March 2011 (2011-03-18) (Poland)
Running time
96 minutes
LanguagesEnglish and Spanish
Budget€1.1 million[1]
Pieter Bruegel's The Way to Calvary

The Mill and the Cross (Polish: Młyn i krzyż) is a 2011 drama film directed by Lech Majewski and starring Rutger Hauer, Charlotte Rampling, and Michael York. It is inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 1564 painting The Procession to Calvary, and based on Michael Francis Gibson's 1996 book The Mill and the Cross. The film was a Polish-Swedish co-production. Filming on the project wrapped in August 2009.[1] It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2011.[2]


The film focuses on a dozen of the 500 characters depicted in Bruegel's painting. It consists of a series of vignettes depicting everyday peasant life, interspersed with monologues from some of the principal characters, including Bruegel explaining the structure and symbolism of his painting. The theme of Christ's suffering is set against religious persecution in Flanders in 1564.[3]



As of June 2020, The Mill and the Cross holds a 79% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 42 reviews with an average rating of 7.41/10.[4] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 80 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[5]

Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 4 stars out of four and stated: "If you see no more than the opening shots, you will never forget them. It opens on a famous painting, and within the painting, a few figures move and walk. We will meet some of those people in more detail."[6] Joe Bendel: "... one of the standouts at this year’s Sundance".[7] Variety's Dennis Harvey wrote: "While hardly an exercise in strict realism a la The Girl With the Pearl Earring, the pic details rustic Flanders life with loving care, from costuming to simple machinery. Pic's narrative content ... is hardly straightforward or propulsive. ... the film is never dull, and frequently entrancing." Harvey thought that if marketed cleverly, the film "could prove the Polish helmer's belated international breakthrough".[8] Neil Young of The Hollywood Reporter complimented the technical achievements, but called the film "ambitious but frustratingly flat". He described the English dialogue as "mostly clunky" and thought the film "has too much of a stodgy Euro-pudding feel".[9] On the other hand, in his review for the San Francisco International Film Festival, executive director Graham Leggat wrote: "...the narrative is not the point—the extraordinary imagery is. The painting literally comes to life in this spellbinding film, its wondrous scenes entering the viewer like a dream enters a sleeping body."[10]


  1. ^ a b Production: The Mill And The Cross wraps shoot Archived 2012-03-13 at the Wayback Machine Film New Europe. 17 August 2009
  2. ^ Billington, Alex. "SUNDANCE 2011 Sundance Film Festival 2011 Non-Competition Line-Up Unveiled". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  3. ^ Grynienko, Katarzyna "All Star Cast of 'The Mill And The Cross' Working in Poland" Archived 2011-02-03 at the Wayback Machine, Film New Europe, 23 November 2008, accessed 22 October 2010.
  4. ^ "The Mill and the Cross". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  5. ^ "The Mill and the Cross". Metacritic. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Mill and the Cross". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  7. ^ "LFM Sundance Review: The Mill and the Cross – LFM: Libertas Film Magazine".
  8. ^ Harvey, Dennis (27 January 2011). "The Mill and the Cross". Variety. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  9. ^ Young, Neil (2011-02-09). "The Mill & the Cross: Berlin Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  10. ^

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