“We cannot speak other than by our paintings,” wrote Vincent Willem van Gogh in the last letter he wrote before his death. In that case, the world’s first fully oil-painted animation Loving Vincent is the perfect way to tell the enchanting and mysterious story about the life and death of the famous Dutch painter.
The film is set a year after the artist’s death, when his close friend Roulin, a postman, sends his son Armand to personally deliver van Gogh’s last letter to his brother Theo. Along Armand’s journey to deliver the letter, he encounters van Gogh’s close friends and acquaintances, who each have a distinctive, if not contradicting, story to tell about van Gogh and the reason behind his death.
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Featuring 65,000 hand-painted oil paintings created by 125 professional oil painters from around the world, the biographical drama illustrates with immense effort the re-imagining of van Gogh’s 94 original works.
Produced with great detail and care, the painted frames enable the audience to feel the subtle changes and movements of the wind and light, and the hustle and bustle of a bar or the city, all through dancing paint strokes of varying colours and directions.
Adding to the visual spectacle is the impeccable voiceover, both melodic and vivid, and perfectly in sync with the lip movements of the characters in the paintings, which brings the pictures to life.
If the visuals aren’t enough to hold your attention, the obscure nature of van Gogh’s death will certainly keep you hooked as the mystery unfolds and fragments of truth (and lies) are put together. So don’t worry if you’re not the biggest art aficionado or know little about van Gogh.
At times, some of the scenes and characters look too realistic and more like a photo than a painting, which unfortunately breaks the illusion of the dream-like world of van Gogh’s art; the result, perhaps, of computer technology mixing with the hand-painted art. Regardless, Loving Vincent is an aesthetic, dreamy, captivating and poignant cinematic work of art like no other.
Edited by Nicole Moraleda