I don’t know if it’s because I love Van Gogh and his creative paintings or because I love filmmaking and painting, but really I don’t care. Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully painted animation feature, looks like the most wonderful thing I’ve seen.
The movie was envisioned by painter-turned-director-turned-painter, Dorota Kobiela and her husband Hugh Welchman.
During a hard period of her life, Dorota read the letters that Vincent sent to his brother Theo. She was able to relate to the inner struggles that Vincent was famous for, the stereotype for the tortured artist. His troubled times and determination to continue painting helped her in her own struggle. In an interview about making Loving Vincent, she remarked that she wanted to thank Van Gogh by telling his story.
But instead of simply making a movie about his life, she wanted to really honour him and came up with the idea of having the whole movie painted in his unique style.
It took them and a large team over six years to finish the project. The look reminds me of stop-motion. I feel the paintings really come to life in the fluid motion of the frames. Even small mistakes and variations between frames due to different artists, only adds a realistic and somewhat organic effect to the aesthetic of the film.
The way they made the film was largely in two parts. The first part involved the actors going through actions in front of green screens, to be later overlaid with paint in the second part. It wasn’t one or two painters who worked on each frame either, but 124 painters who painted over 50,000 frames (using more than 3,000 litres of oil paint) in Van Gogh’s iconic style.
This revolutionary process wasn’t easy though. The director needed to choose people who matched portraits that Van Gogh worked on during his life. Fortunately, they were able to get well known actors, Aidan Turner, Helen McCrory, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Marguerite Grachet, among many others who wanted to work on the project.
The movie is set to release this year, but a specific date is unknown. From what I found out, the makers are still trying to find a distributer for the different countries. I really want it to come out near me soon, or hopefully have it on Netflix.
Something that makes the movie sound like it’s going to be a great one is what director Welchman had to say about the story. He knew he couldn’t rely on the stunning visuals alone. In an interview with The Telegraph, Welchman talked about the story, saying “We had to have a good story. If the story is no good, no matter how beautiful it is, people are going to resent sitting there for 90 minutes.”
So not only will the visuals be like nothing we’ve ever seen before on a screen, but the story actually might be compelling as well.
The film’s story apparently follows an investigation into the mysterious death of Van Gogh and his life leading up to the moment where he supposedly committed suicide. Only, (*spoilers*) the movie gives the case that Vincent was possibly murdered by a troublesome 16 year-old boy, Rene Secretan. Accounts of Rene describe how he would pester Vincent, but that he never killed him.
Either way, the idea that Van Gogh was murdered instead of committing suicide is a bold move by the writers. The theory that suicide was the case is the generally accepted story.
What’s got me excited is that this looks like it’s going to be an incredible biography of an incredible artist. Besides the ground-breaking innovative style involving paint, the filmmakers have gone above and beyond what it means to create an artistic piece.
Are we seeing a new direction or even genre of filmmaking? Hard to tell, it depends on how well Loving Vincent does. But as my anticipation mounts I can only wait to see the innovative style of what looks like the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.