The Mill and the Cross (2011) Movie Script

So this could be a group of
saints returning from the past
to mourn the present
fate of Flanders.
And when the painting is done,
you may have it
if you wish.
Why did you do that?
Don't speak... No.
Line up!
I can't abide by these
high-handed methods.
At times I can barely contain myself.
These foreign mercenaries
in their red tunics
are here to do the bidding of their
Spanish masters who lorded over us.
Every day, their manners remain
a stench in the nostrils.
And an of fence to pride,
to Christian humility
and common sense itself.
I'm a citizen of Antwerp.
A banker of repute.
Collector of paintings.
I'm also a member of the
'Schola Caritatis'.
A brotherhood men of all confessions
without requiring them to abjure.
I believe, and many others in this
magnificent city also believe
that good men of all
confessions can come together
in peace and good understanding.
that is not the opinion
of the king of Spain,
who is also our king, alas.
It is now his pleasure that all
heritage should be put to death.
The men by decapitation,
and the women
I have seen it...
I have seen it all.
My painting will have
to tell many stories.
It should be large enough
to hold everything.
Everything, all the people.
There must be a hundred of them.
I will work like the spider I saw
this morning building its web.
First... finds an anchoring point.
Here, the heart of my web.
Below the grindstone of events
our Saviour is being ground
like grain, mercilessly.
I was shown
our Saviour being led to Golgotha
by the red tunics of the Spanish
Although he has fallen at
the center of my painting,
I must hide him from the eye.
Why would you want to hide him?
Because he is the most important.
But you might have missed it.
Now if you look here,
Simon is taken away from Esther
to help carry the cross.
And they all look at Simon,
not at the Saviour.
Then there is a mill,
based on a rock.
It is the axis around which all the
people circle between Life and Death.
The miller just stands there,
looking down on everything.
Why have you put him so high up?
In most paintings,
God is shown parting the clouds,
looking down on the
worid in displeasure.
In my painting,
the miller will take his place.
He is the great miller of the Heaven
grinding the bread of
Life and Destiny.
The bread...
The bread is then carried
around by the pedlar
sitting here.
Here is the city.
It forms a circle within its walls.
The circle of Life.
And next to it is the tree of Life
with fresh leaves.
On the other side is a black circle.
The circle of Death.
It's formed by the crowd gathering
around the execution like flies.
And here below is the tree of Death.
A horse's skull next to it.
And the two men,
You and I.
Nothing is going to happen.
When I think about yesterday,
when he walked into town,
strolled out onto
the Cathedral square
and spoke his mind.
How they listened.
How they cheered.
How enthralled they all were.
Even the soldiers.
And now that we're walking through
the streets in a trance,
the same soldiers who
cheered him yesterday
came out to arrest him last night.
The same crowd that
listened enthralled
has been screaming for
his head all morning.
Nothing was going to happen.
Look at the mother of the
condamned man
and his friends.
Do you remember the
"Adoration of the Magi"?
I did it earlier this year.
My wife served as the model
for the Mother of God.
I'm sure you recognized her.
It was just after she gave
birth to little Peter.
She was such a lusty girl,
womanly, and motherly.
Here she is again,
thirty years later.
Same attitude and same face.
But now the child that
gave her fulness and joy
is taken away.
She's utterly destroyed.
I don't understand.
When he grew up, neighbours
used to tell me
that the decisions of Fate were spelled
out in the fiery letters in the sky.
They alone commanded the seasons.
They would say.
I suppose.
I suppose they really do.
And they also decree who is
to live and who to die.
But he.
My child.
My boy.
Oh, when he was grown
he amazed us all.
It was though he walked unhindered,
straight up to the stony
gates of Heaven.
Plucked all the torches that
light the way up there
night and day,
the fires of Fate,
and swung them laughingly
to the earth.
"I have come to cast fire on you",
he would tell those who came to hear.
"It's in our power to
grasp the fire of Fate"
"in our own hands."
That's what he said.
And then his laughter.
It was so...
He was so...
I knew the man.
I myself was there when
he said some of the
things that are now
being held against him.
That he'd tear down the cathedral
and build it anew in three days.
None of us had any
problems with that.
We understood that he was
speaking about reform.
Just look at that.
They're violating and humiliating
our bodies and souls.
Violating and humiliating
Charity and Virtue.
Our land will be reduced to beggary.
If only time could be stayed.
If it were only brought to a stop.
Then we could wrestle the
senseless moment to the ground,
clearly speak its name to its
face and break its power.
You think you can express this?
Now if you look here,
Simon is taken away from Esther
to help carry the cross.
And they all look at Simon.
Not at the Saviour.
Be it the birth of Jesus,
the fall of Icarus
or the death of Saul casting
himself on his sword.
All these worid-changing events
went unnoticed by the crowd.
So just like this spider,
I built my web,
hoping to catch the viewer's eye.
Now the stage is set.
How can I just stand here?
What can I do?
I can't think clearly.
I don't understand.
He was born for a reason.
I knew that from the
day he stirred in me.
...when he grew up
he brought a light into the worid.
And this light threatened the
sly and dark convenience
of our rotten usage and custom.
He was a threat to
every dangerous fool
whose concern is with
neither God nor Man
but with his own miserable
certainties and power.
And now it's dark.
Custom and usage have won the night.
(phrase to write)