Loving Vincent

Happy tidings for movie buffs and the artily inclined both: Loving Vincent, the world’s first oil painted feature-length film about a certain Dutchman named Van Gogh has been slated for release this autumn.

While us UK lot will have to wait until 13 October for the ball to drop, Vincent’s fangirls and fanboys in the US can bask in Breakthru and Trademark Films’ spectacle as early as 22 September.

It promises to be quite a piece of cinema. In addition to being propped up by what seems a solid cast indeed, every one of the 65,000 frames has been painstakingly rendered on canvas by 125 artists, resulting in 1,345 tossed out compositions over six years in the production booth. And word is it’s received standing ovations at a fair share of preemptive film festival screenings.

The story line swirls around familiar questions,  how and why did Vincent van Gogh come to be shot in the gut in rural Auvers-sur-Oise, France in 1891?

As the film’s trailer makes clear, the dramatis personæ who orbited in Van Gogh’s sphere were just as confused then as we remain today, and all maintained their own opinions on the condition and motives of the passionate but commercially unlucky painter.

Popular legend would have it that Van Gogh attempted to off himself with a revolver in a barn one summer afternoon, rendered suicidal by depressive episodes and more than one sort of rejection. Other, more sober sources state it was a most unfortunate hunting mishap that led to the bullet wound and subsequent infection that snuffed his light out. Conclusions simply can’t be jumped to, though it can be agreed Van Gogh’s end was an unduly woeful one.

That woeful tone cannot and should not be glossed over, though it does raise some mild concerns when turned over to professed manufacturers of ‘movie magic.’ No matter how exciting it is to realise this feat of film history, art history, visual culture and CGI technology will soon be unleashed for public viewing, it can only be hoped that its producers didn’t relish the trope of the tragic artist too much.

For beloved Vincent only furnishes one example of exquisitely disregarded talent, of the beauty everyone misses out on when emerging creative fires are callously dampened with rigid appreciation for what’s already considered fine art.

Truth is, society doesn’t need to drive it’s artists to near insanity with a refusal to embrace the unknown and avant-garde. And works of art don’t have to only begin accumulating value upon the drawing of its creator’s last breath. As this film seems like to prove, there’s plenty of living, breathing genius out there, ready to begin enriching lives at this moment.

Tessa Sinclair

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