Friday, 12 December 2008


Hello my Friends, this is Padraic, and I'm back at last from my world tour. I note that Michael, whom I left in charge of this blog, got bogged down in other matters and shamefully neglected his duty.

I'll forgive him nonethess, since his time has been well spent, and I find I've got back just in time to report that Polish film director Lech Majewski has finished shooting his latest movie, The Mill & the Cross, with Charlotte Rampling, Michael York, Rutger Hauer and Joanna Litwin. This interests us all the more that the film, scripted by Majewski and our friend Michael Gibson, is based on Michael's book of the same title, devoted to Breugel's incredible painting, The Way to Calvary, populated by about 500 characters.

The director of photography is Adam Sikora, who recently shot Jerzy Skolimowski's Four Days with Anna.

While portraying the passion of Christ, the painting also refers quite clearly to the cruel persecution of "heretics" which Bruegel witnessed in Flanders in the 1560's. It thus becomes a denunciation of persecutions in all ages. The laws of the day required male Protestants caught in Flanders to be beheaded and women to be burried alive. Other forms of cruel execution were also practiced. The photo above shows one of the "thieves" escorted to his place of execution by the hangman.

The film begins by relating a particular day in Bruegel's life, in the course of which the painter and his friend, the banker Nicholas Jonghelinck, go out of town to stand as helpless witnesses to the execution of a Protestant preacher whom they apparently knew and admired. Half-way through the film, thanks to a clever narrative device, the preacher becomes identified with Jesus and the film turns into a narrative of the passion.

Since shooting has been completed, a group of computer wizards has begun the arduous task of incrusting the actors into backgrounds realistically painted by Bruegel. The effect will be stunning.

The Mill & The Cross should be released in the fall of 2009.