Loving Vincent is more for the art, less for the story
With the brushstrokes of over 100 painters Polish animator Dorota Kobiela and U.K. painter Hugh Welchman’s production of Loving Vincent is a testament to the collective love of a beloved and troubled artist. Part murder mystery, part love affair with the master, the film is not meant as a biography or a historical memoir, but as a work of art and dream-like exploration into the final months of his life.
Reaching a near-lunatic level of time and dedication to the work and style of Van Gogh, each frame echoes the impressionist strokes of vibrant colour that carved the man out as the father of modern art. And the creative transitions used between scenes—turning a man’s face into distant fields or clouds—is part of the excitement that painting each frame brings to the film.
The film takes place one year after Van Gogh’s death and follows his trusted postmaster’s son as he attempts to deliver a letter the late Impressionist wrote to his brother, Theo. As he travels to Arles, the plot is told through members of the community that saw the painter in different lights.
Most cinematic films are shot at 24 frames per second. At that rate, the film uses 65,000 paintings and a new animation process that models characters on actors’ faces to make the movements and expressions flow naturally. When you consider the amount of paintings needed for a small movement like a scratch of the nose, the fluidity is amazing. Despite this, seeing the film on an Imax screen might be a bit too much; the noise of the strokes and movements can be dizzying.
But beyond the beauty of the painted frames, the score is its own work of art. Created by famed film composer Clint Mansell (Pi, Requiem for a Dream), the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack ends up flowing into each scene of starry Paris and sleepy southern France seamlessly.
Standing as the world’s first fully-painted feature film, Loving Vincent is a masterpiece must-see for the beauty and a plot that’s worth the wait until it’s hit the cheap theatres.
Fri., Dec. 8 – Thu., Dec. 14
Metro Cinema, $13