New Vincent Van Gogh biopic awes audience with gorgeous animation


Tribune News Service

STROKES OF GENIUS. Van Gogh paints the city of Auvers in the rain. “Loving Vincent” switches between a black and white style of painting seen here and Van Gogh’s iconic heavy brushstroke. This broke up the story from the present day narrative to the flashbacks. The whole film was fully hand painted as the creators claim it is the first fully painted feature film. It is currently playing in select theaters around the world.

I recently had the pleasure to watch “Loving Vincent,” a film about the last days of famed painter Vincent van Gogh.

The film sets the scene: “On 27th July 1890, a gaunt figure stumbled down a drowsy high street at twilight in the small French country town of Auvers.”

From there, the story line follows Armand Roulin, son of the postman, and Vincent’s friend Joseph Roulin, who is trying to deliver Vincent’s last letter to his brother Theo. Along the way, Roulin is drawn into the journey to find out why van Gogh killed himself. The characters he visits are all subjects of van Gogh’s paintings, and includes iconic shots such as “Starry Night” (of course), “Cafe Terrace at Night,” “Wheatfield with Crows,” and “The Night Cafe.”

Each individual frame of the film (and there are more than 65,000 frames total) is fully hand- painted by a team of over 100 artists in van Gogh’s iconic post-impressionist style.

I was excruciatingly excited to watch the movie and was not disappointed. It was a swirling kaleidoscope of color and movement (a fitting tribute), the colors were absolutely gorgeous, and the animation was beautifully done. The viewers could see the hours dedicated to creating the thousands of beautiful paintings.

I even convinced my art teacher, Mrs. Kat Rakel-Ferguson to see the movie too.

Madman Entertainment

“Oh my gosh! It was captivating. I couldn’t look away. It wasn’t just the visuals, but the story line also kept me interested. It could have been overwhelming, but I think the break between black and white and color gave your eyes and mind a chance to rest. I was a little weepy especially because they were singing ‘Starry Night.’

“I’m not the biggest van Gogh fan, but it made me feel for him, and it’s sad. But his paintings are so contradictory to that sadness in a way because the colors are so bright and the marks are so energetic, and yet his story is so tragic,” Ferguson said.

It’s hard to put into words the mix of feelings this movie brought me. It was a beautiful and intense exploration into the life and works of a troubled yet brilliant artist. It was touching to see the artist become reanimated in his own medium and through his own works and the impact that his art has had on our world despite the struggle he faced in his own time.

The way that the creators brought Vincent to life through his own works brings to mind a quote from the great artist himself: “We cannot speak other than by our paintings.” — Vincent van Gogh, in a letter to his brother Theo.

To be frank, my words do not do this movie justice. I would highly recommend “Loving Vincent,” currently playing at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton.

To learn more about the film and the process behind it, visit their website.