Your Art Film, My Nap Time

November 8, 2011

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I were debating which movie to attend. In true form, we ultimately based our theater choice on two factors: good popcorn and parking. Ultimately, we ended up at the Landmark Theater in Edina, which offers free parking, good popcorn and a choice of places for a quick, pre-movie snack.

I ended up with the responsibility of choosing a movie. Feeling uninspired, I chose a new film with the highest Rotten Tomato rating. Happy to find a 77 percent positive rating, we grabbed our tickets for “The Mill and The Cross” — confident that we’d be entertained as it was an arts movie about a famous painting. Hey, we liked “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” I’m a former art student. Winners all around.

Watching the mill turn occupied about 10 minutes of the movie. I'll never get those 10 minutes back.

Ninety minutes later, my boyfriend scrubbed his face, blinked and we wearily left for home, unable to speak for most of the car ride.

Finally, in subdued tones, we both admitted it: We hated the movie. We were bored.  Annoyed by the over-the-top voice-over explanations. Disgusted by the crow picking a man’s face apart. Slightly confused by why a mill represented heaven/God.

We were bored senseless by a movie that received rave reviews such as “this film is a dazzling master class in visual composition” and “Majewski’s film is a captivating exercise that will interest fans of art, not to mention art-house cinema.”

But two days later, I have to admit that the movie fulfilled its role as an art film. Art should challenge, make you question things, stick to your subconscious.

In its final last act of revenge, the film won. I spent most of Sunday pondering why I hated a critically acclaimed movie.

P.S. I’m not alone. Desperately seeking consolation as I wrote this post, I found this review from Colin Covert:

Slamming a serious art film is akin to knocking down a unicorn, but sometimes it must be done. Intensely beautiful, challenging and too long for its own good, “The Mill & the Cross” seems to exist largely to challenge the patience of the audience.

P.S.S. I also didn’t dig “The Tree of Life.” Why dinosaurs? In what universe do Sean Penn and Brad Pitt look like father and son?