Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent is, for many reasons, truly phenomenal.

A film that bears some right to be called the greatest breakthrough and creative endeavour of the year has seemed to have slipped by the notice of many movie connoisseurs. I am referring to Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s Loving Vincent.

It is a true work of art in every sense. Overall, viewers appear to be happy with what was delivered. Interestingly enough, this labour of love showcases old-school and time-consuming cinematography techniques.

The Legend and Legacy of Van Gogh

It’s not too hard to assume what the film is based on from its title. Loving Vincent is about the painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and the circumstances around his allegedly suicidal death.

Loving Vincent
Main Characters from Loving Vincent. Source: Spectrum Culture.

A unique artist, he himself was rather a unique individual. He is the famous (or infamous) artist who is known for cutting off part of his left ear, an action apparently brought on by depression. An article from Vanity Fair mentions the possibility that he was actually murdered.

Much of his work too, like his life, is shrouded in mystery. An oil on canvas he painted entitled Still Life: Vase with Oleanders (alternately known as Vase on Yellow Background) vanished in 1944 while in France under Nazi domination.

The Nazis raided the building in which an art gallery (including the van Gogh) was on display. And they eventually burned the structure. Hitler’s Third Reich was renowned for confiscating and even destroying priceless works of art, works of the¬†human spirit. This historical fact plays a major role in the 2014 film The Monuments Men.

Loving Vincent
Behind the Scenes. Source: Idaho Statesman.

The dedication behind the making of films and especially Loving Vincent

Being quite a character, van Gogh’s life makes for an interesting cinematic tale. The movie Loving Vincent is a masterpiece, even an honour to the artist himself. Cinema is an art that employs almost all other artistic forms.

Film is the result of writers, music composers, singers, actors, and digital and traditional artists. It employs lighting technicians, set designers and decorators, audio specialists, and professionals in props, makeup, hair, and wardrobes. A great deal of heart and stress go into the making of a motion picture from every member of the team. It is the ultimate art. And Loving Vincent could be the ultimate art film.

This feature film, running approximately 1 hour 35 minutes, took about five solid years to make. BBC made the point that this is likely the longest method of filmmaking ever conceived and accomplished. It is touted as the world’s first fully painted feature film. Every frame is hand painted by an artist to resemble van Gogh’s style, a function similar to creating nondigital animated films.

Loving Vincent
In a Grove of Trees. Source: Your Observer.

This is not the first time such traditional art has been used in film productions. For instance, Salvador Dali worked with filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney. Another painter, artist/author James Gurney has worked as a painter for an animated film. And these are not the only examples.

Not only that, but this form of filmmaking relied on stop-motion animation. This method was used in films such as The Lost World (1925), Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) and The Boxtrolls (2014).

Apart from green screening the actors and digitally editing together the finished project, Loving Vincent was created through oil paintings and stop-motion still photography. This is utterly amazing.

It is quite inspiring that directors, producers, and the dozens of painters spent so much time and energy creating, redoing, and perfecting a film of such proportions. This achievement stands as a vestige to classical cinematography and also to human creativity, passion, and patience.

You can read Digital Fox’s favourite movies of 2017 here.

I am a young man from Illinois, USA. My writing has been published on sites including The Good Men Project, Primordial Magazine, Movie Quotes and More, Movie Babble, SFF World, Filmoria, The Review Review, and elsewhere.