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Raymond J. Barry,
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In his brilliant short comment on Pieter Brueghel, the elder, Aldous Huxley states that Brueghel's vision on mankind is still highly topical. His paintings are allegories and show him as 'a man profoundly convinced of the reality of evil and of the horrors which this mortal life, not to mention eternity, hold in store for suffering humanity. The world is a horrible place; but in spite of this, or precisely because of this, men and women eat, drink and dance.'
Pieter Brueghel's 'Way to Calvary' transcends its theme. It is a profoundly bitter condemnation of the occupation of Flanders by the Spanish Catholic king. The Flemings are crucified or broken on the wheel, while their possessions are confiscated and their families destroyed.
Lech Majewski transformed masterfully Brueghel's masterpiece into an impressive movie. The reconstruction of the idyllic landscapes, of the colorful atmosphere of the 16th century cities, of the epochal clothing and of the cold-blooded reign and the executions by the Spanish mercenaries are simply phenomenal, helped most significantly by a brilliant cast and a fantastic color grading. Lech Majewski's impressive scenes, ranging from simple serene family joys to compulsive sadistic flogging, speak for themselves, while keen commentators, like Breughel himself, critic harshly the savagery of the representatives of the Catholic king.
A must see.
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