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And now I understand what you tried to say to me

How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen
They did not know how.

Perhaps they’ll listen now.

From Vincent by Don McLean

Van Gogh on the big screen

By Roger Childs

The Dutch painter is many people’s favourite from the dawning of “modern art”. Vincent Van Gogh was part of the extraordinary late 19th – early 20th era when a plethora of different styles emerged.

Gone were the days of the domination of representational art, and Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Abstraction to name but a few, burst onto the European  art scene.

Van Gogh can’t be pigeon-holed, as he included elements in his painting from a range of styles to create a unique blend. His most amazing work was done in the south of France, especially in and around Arles.

Now in Loving Vincent the greatness of the artist is celebrated on screen, with the movie entirely rendered in the Van Gogh style.

Bringing a highly creative idea to life

Loving Vincent was the brainchild of Polish film maker, Dorota Kobiela back in 2007 . Ten years later, she and co-director Hugh Welchman have made the movie which has been nominated for Golden Globe, BAFTA and Oscar awards.

It has been a smash hit in Asia and done very well elsewhere. At the bottom of the film chain, New Zealand has just put it on screens this week.

Technically it has involved 125 artists, from a pool of 5000, painting 65,000 frames in the style of the great man. Basically it tells the story of Van Gogh’s postman’s son trying to deliver Vincent’s last letter to his brother Theo.

Along the way he meets people who knew the artist and story of his last few years are told, including his controversial death. It is now believed than Van Gogh, at the height of his powers, did not commit suicide but was probably murdered by a couple of teenagers.

Setting new standards

This is a film which breaks new ground. There have been some brilliant animated movies in recent times especially coming out of Japan. However one of the best of all time was the The Triplets of Bellville which featured breathtaking art by Sylvain Chomet.

But no one has put together a film about an artist which looks like it was painted by the very same artist!

Many readers will be familiar with Don McLean poignant rendition of Vincent and this features as part of the haunting soundtrack.

So viewers will be treated to great artistry and music, however, as Hugh Welchman says, that there is also a challenge for those watching the movie.

We want people to make up their own minds about what kind of person he was and what happened to him.

We have a full review in a week or two.