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Loving Vincent Willem van Gogh

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Loving Vincent was, among others, nominated for the Golden Globe. It was announced as the first hand-painted featured animated film. It’s a portrayal of the life and work of the (probably) one of the most famous and loved painters in history – Vincent van Gogh. The movie was directed by the Polish filmmaker and painter Dorota Kobiela (who’d also directed Little Postman and The Flying Machine) and produced by her husband Hugh Welchman. In a world of animation and movie making in general, predominately a male field, a female director is an interesting and welcomed change. Thus Dorota Kobiela’s name flooded the media (in a positive way, and profession related media mostly, that is).

The artist that broke rules and believed in himself

Loving Vincent depicts the story of a postman, Armand Roulin, who’s on a mission to deliver Van Gogh’s final letter, or one of the last he wrote before he died. The idea seems extraordinarily interesting, even to laymen, and especially to anyone in any way related to visual arts, since Van Gogh was one of the most fascinating figures in art history. It has so far received numerous awards including; The European Animated Feature Film Award by The European Film Academy, thirteen audience awards (Annecy, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Windsor Film Festival, Vancouver and Oostende to name a few), Best Animated Feature Awards at the Shanghai Film Festival and the Palm Springs Animation Festival. It has also received numerous nominations, including for Best animated feature at the Critics’ Choice Awards.

We’d like to se more female directors, but sex equality aside, there’s something else that has sent ripples across the world of animation. Judging by the number of nominations and awards it had received, this seems to be a project that stands as one of the most important European features today. It seems to mark an era in the world of animated film. The film is, as mentioned, described as a depiction of Van Gogh’s art in motion, and it’s the first time an entire movie was hand painted (oil on canvas). The opening scene lists over a hundred animators who’d worked on the project. It reimages over 90 famous paintings in around 67,000 individual frames. With all that being announced we were thrilled, and couldn’t wait to see it and then… it’s a bit different form of rotoscoping. A technique used to trace over film footage frame by frame. The process that serves the purpose of enhancing footage with paint. Not that it’s not good or useful, it’s just not as revolutionary as announced (especially when a hundred animators had worked on it). The possibilities and the feel that a techniques such as, for example, oil on glass could produce, would be far more appropriate than rotoscoping (in our opinion).

Loving Vincent for who he was

vincent van goghNevertheless, Vincent had lived an astonishing life, and many will be pleased to have an opportunity to get to know a little piece of it on film. Influenced by the impressionists, he began painting, at start self-taught and listening to advice from the art circles. Only later in his career will he distance himself from impressionism and the outside world, and implement his emotional chaos into his work. This will mean a revolution in art, still remembered today. After him, and because of him, came modern art in its proper form. The parameters and the understanding of what a painting is will have been changed by the time Van Gogh became famous and recognized. Nature will no longer be the ideal which is to be blindly imitated. The epoch during which he discovers what a painting should really be like, is the period that announced the beginnings of film art as well. In 1889., George Estmann begins his work with the celluloid tape and begins the process of the beginnings of film and animation.

Perhaps being harsh is not just. The subject of the film is hard to depict in two hours. Applying and explaining the intricate meaning of Van Gogh’s art is seemingly impossible, no matter how you approach the problem. They have, however, succeeded in giving us a show of the art we love so much, the paintings we know in a form of quotations which seem more than appropriate as a medium.

van gogh

The destiny of the great artists is incredibly sad. It tells a story of human life and the absurd, and sometimes unsolvable situations a man is forced to deal with. The characters in Loving Vincent deliver a story of the circumstances in which our beloved Vincent died. Alone and rejected, and still unrecognized as one of the greatest painters of all time. This is the main reason why many will want to see Loving Vincent.

loving vincent animataurus
The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

Loving Vincent will definitely go around the world and win even more praise, and we will still definitely keep loving Vincent, no matter what our opinion of this attempt to describe him is. A few things apart from the sad history of the events leave a bitter aftertaste, though.

vincent van gogh

 

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