Nova Zembla is a 2011 Dutch historical drama film directed by Reinout Oerlemans. It is the first Dutch feature film in 3D.The film describes the last journey of Willem Barentsz and Jacob van Heemskerk through 1596-1597 when they and their crew tried to discover the Northeast Passage to the Indies. However, due to the sea ice, they are stranded on the island of Novaya Zemlya and have to spend the winter there in Het Behouden Huys (The Safe Home). The story is told through the eyes of Gerrit de Veer, and is loosely based on a diary he published in 1598 after his safe return. Gerrit is portrayed as having a relationship with Catharina Plancius, the daughter of the astronomer, cartographer and reverend Petrus Plancius, who pioneered the concept of the North East passage to reach the Indies. The Novaya Zemlya effect, first described by De Veer, is shown in the film, albeit in a non-historical fashion.
Luther is a 2003 biopic about the life of Martin Luther (1483–1546) starring Joseph Fiennes. It was an independent film partially funded by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The film covers Luther’s life from his becoming a monk to the Diet of Augsburg.
+The film takes place over the course of three decades. However, none of the characters show any signs of aging, including Luther and the youthful German emperor.+
Apocalypto is a 2006 American epic adventure film directed and produced by Mel Gibson and written by Gibson and Farhad Safinia. Similar to Gibson’s earlier film The Passion of the Christ, all dialogue is in a modern approximation of the ancient language of the setting. Here, the Yucatec Maya language is used, with English and other language subtitles, which sometimes refer to the language as Mayan.
Four Last Things is a point-and-click adventure game made from Renaissance-era paintings and public domain recordings of classical music. It is about sin, and the Four Last Things – Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell – and strives to be intelligent and ridiculous in equal measures.
spacetime coordinates: 16th century in the Cévennes
Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (French: Michael Kohlhaas) is a 2013 French-German drama film directed by Arnaud des Pallières based on Heinrich von Kleist‘s novella Michael Kohlhaas, which again is based on the story of Hans Kohlhase.
spacetime coordinates: sixteenth-century Flanders
The Mill and the Cross (Polish: Młyn i krzyż) is a 2011 Polish-Swedish drama film directed by Lech Majewski and starring Rutger Hauer, Charlotte Rampling and Michael York. It is inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder‘s 1564 painting The Procession to Calvary, and based on Michael Francis Gibson‘s book The Mill and the Cross.
Variety‘s Dennis Harvey wrote: “While hardly an exercise in strict realism a la The Girl With the Pearl Earring, the pic details rustic Flanders life with loving care, from costuming to simple machinery. Pic’s narrative content … is hardly straightforward or propulsive. … the film is never dull, and frequently entrancing.”
spacetime coordinates: Venice, 1596
The title character is the merchant Antonio (Jeremy Irons), not the Jewish moneylender Shylock (Al Pacino) who is the more prominent character. This adaptation follows the text, but omits much. Director Michael Radford believed that Shylock was Shakespeare’s first great tragic hero who reaches a catastrophe due to his own flaws. The film begins with text and a montage of how the Jewish community is abused by the Christian population of Venice and brings attention to the fact that, as a convert, Shylock would have been cast out of the Jewish ghetto in Venice.
(trivia) the bare-breasted prostitutes were not put in the film to make it more risqué, but rather to add a note of historical authenticity. Venetian law at the time required all prostitutes to bare their breasts because the Christian authorities were concerned about rampant homosexuality in their city.