Title: Loving Vincent
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Director: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Production Company: BreakThru Productions | Trademark Films
A team of Polish and British filmmakers explore the legacy that Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh left behind in France after his death through experimental animation. Each frame in the film is hand-painted in oils in the style of Van Gogh, bringing to life the people and places he painted. This approach was previously used in a segment of Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (1990), but it doesn’t make it any less wondrous to watch, especially for a Van Gogh admirer.
The story takes place a year after Van Gogh’s death when Armand Roulin (Douglass Booth) is tasked with delivering a letter from Vincent to his brother Theo. Traveling to Auvers-sur-Oise, Roulin learns that Theo has also died, but feels compelled to continue searching for a recipient for the letter. The movie plays out like a mystery as Roulin interviews people who knew Van Gogh, and the his actions and moods on his last day are teased out. The story does drag a bit, but the film is kept alive by its outstanding visuals as well as the voice cast featuring stars like Jerome Flynn, Saoirse Ronan, and Chris O’Dowd.
Just an aside, many years ago when I saw an exhibit of Van Gogh’s work at the Museum of Fine Arts, I decided it would be funny of someone made a sitcom about The Roulin Family. Seeing Armand as well as his father, the postman Joseph Roulin, as characters in Loving Vincent is a big step toward seeing my vision come to life.