Bruegel as Cinema

Jackson Arn at Art in America:

BRUEGEL SEEMS LIKE A BETTER FIT for a certain type of film than for poetry. His indiscriminate eye; his contempt for obvious “takeaways”; his wide, lucid images withholding judgment—in all these ways, he anticipates the “slow cinema” of the last few decades. It seems appropriate that director Andrei Tarkovsky, a pivotal figure in the flourishing of this kind of cinema, should be the first major filmmaker to put Hunters to work onscreen.

Tarkovsky left behind two unmistakable Hunters homages, one a long, aching look at the image and the other a bizarre, fractured tableau vivant. Even if he’d shot neither, people would compare his work to Bruegel’s. Andrei Rublev (1966) opens with one of the most Bruegel-esque scenes ever filmed: medieval peasants build a hot air balloon, launch it with one of their number tied beneath, and hoot with delight as he floats off over the countryside before crashing Icarus-like to earth. The scene ends with a zoom shot of the ground—Tarkovsky, like Bruegel, is always looking down at his figures, so that they don’t seem to reach up to the heavens so much as sink into the mud.

more here.