Sunday, November 19, 2017

Movie with Abe: Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent
Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Released September 22, 2017

Vincent Van Gogh is easily one of the most well-known artists throughout history and across the world. Like so many, he was not appreciated in his time, and the fame he has gained comes almost entirely from after he died at a young age at his own hands. His work adorns the walls of many people’s homes and of art galleries all over the world, and this film chooses to use a medium close to his own to tell a story also set after his death that investigates just what it was that led to his untimely demise.

A year after Vincent’s death, a letter remains that must be delivered to his brother Theo. The postman Roulin sends his son Arnaud to try once again to deliver this letter after several failed attempts. What Arnaud, initially uninterested in the task he has been given, discovers is that there is much more to Vincent’s life and decline than he ever knew. Through pointed conversations with the people who spent time with Vincent in his final weeks, including doctors, hoteliers, and their families, Arnaud learns about who Vincent really was and how no one was really able to understand him.

This animated film begins with the impressive note that it was entirely hand-painted by a team of over 100 artists. If nothing else, this would be a startling feat which pays tribute to Van Gogh’s contributions to modern art by bringing to life his story with an art form that he surely could never have expected would have been popularized in this way. It’s a dazzling visual experience, enhanced with excitable dialogue delivered by the film’s voice actors, enabling these pictures to be just the storyboard for a moving narrative.

This artistic feat is easily the film’s signature asset, but the tale it tells proves to be just as engaging. The film’s title feels purposeful since Vincent is a figure seen only a few times throughout the film yet so crucial to all of its development. Just a year after his death, those who met Vincent and tried to comprehend how he saw the world haven’t been able to get him out of their heads. So many years later, Van Gogh’s mark on the world has only been amplified, and this tribute to his artistry and to his life is a mesmerizing and beautiful journey.


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