Loving Vincent: The Paintings of Vincent Van Gogh come to life

Loving Vincent takes its audiences into the world of Vincent Van Gogh by bringing his paintings to life on screen.

A breathtaking collaboration of over 100 artists, Loving Vincent, tells the story of Van Gogh’s last moments.

Directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman have created the first fully oil painted feature film. Set one year after Van Gogh’s death, the film follows a young man named Armand Roulin, the son of Van Gogh’s postman and friend.

Early on in the plot, we see a flashback to the well-known scene of Van Gogh cutting off his own ear and giving it to a prostitute. Roulin’s father describes Van Gogh as an “ill man”.

Due to pressure from his father, Roulin delivers a letter to Van Gogh’s brother but soon realizes that he is dead. Roulin’s curiosity peaks and viewers are launched into what feels like a small town, murder mystery film.

Roulin finds himself in Arles, France searching for answers to Van Gogh’s mysterious death, which most thought was a suicide.

While in Arles, Roulin sees the place that inspired much of Van Gogh’s artwork and meets the characters surrounding the controversy of his death. Each person he speaks with has a different story and opinion of Van Gogh.

Loving Vincent centers around Armand Roulin’s search for the truth. (Source: lovingvincent.com)

Loving Vincent centers around Armand Roulin’s search for the truth. (Source: lovingvincent.com)”

The oil-painted animation brings the story to life. Each image replicates the iconic style of Van Gogh while each character comes straight from an actual Van Gogh painting. The thick strokes of paint pop on the screen and move flawlessly from one image to the next. Spilled wine on a table turns into drops of blood as the scene changes, every detail being taken into account.

After hearing from more people, Roulin begins to understand the complexity of a man he had previously dubbed as crazy. Hungry to find answers to his questions, Roulin speaks to the daughter of Van Gogh’s doctor who was close to him.

“You want to know so much about his death,” she says, “but what do you know about his life?”

Roulin realizes that he may never know all the answers, but he has a new appreciation for a misunderstood man.

Loving Vincent incorporates frequent flashbacks as each person describes their encounters with Van Gogh. The flashbacks are cleverly depicted in pencil drawings and contrast the vivid colors of the present beautifully.

The premise of the story is simple and straightforward, lacking depth to the characters. While the main character goes to great lengths to find answers to Van Gogh’s mysterious death, there isn’t much background about his emotional motivation for doing so.

This isn’t a film to see for the plot, however. A complicated plot would have taken away from the pure beauty of the imagery.

You don’t have to be an art connoisseur to appreciate the talent, artistry and creativity behind this masterpiece. Loving Vincent is a film for everyone.

Loving Vincent runs until Nov. 2 at Tivoli Cinemas in Westport. View show times at http://www.tivolikc.com/.  

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