I went to watch this in the local Cinema with my husband’s colleague and she had not seen the trailer. When the film began she practically had her chin on the floor. She was not expecting it to be like watching a moving Van Gogh painting but that is exactly what watching this film is like. I felt like I was immersed into Van Gogh’s hyper sensual world of moving brush strokes. It always felt to me like his paintings have motion and give even more life to the life of the objects and scenes he has painted. What a homage to a great artist!
The film was followed by the Q&A broadcast from the National Gallery. Knowing this would follow the film I expected the film to not be a feature length film. Also knowing each frame was painstakingly hand painted in Van Gogh’s style I thought it would be shorter than a feature length film. I was wrong. Not only was the film feature length all appearing like a moving Van Gogh painting but there was an interesting story taking place.
The story takes place after Van Gogh’s death and a character Armand Roulin (actor Douglas Booth) tries to deliver a letter from Vincent to his brother, Theo. When Armand discovers that Theo is also dead it sends him on a quest to discover the truth behind the artists demise. All the characters in the film are characters featured in Van Gogh’s paintings. The characters all acted their parts with a blue screen behind them and then a team of 125 artists painted over 62,450 frames to reflect Van Gogh’s style. It was a little funny to me that two of the actors were from Poldark, the fact I recognised some of the actors was slightly distracting but only slightly. This is the first ever hand painted feature film and I am sure it will not be the last! I found this film to be beautiful but also compelling and just simply breathtaking.
The Q&A broadcast at the end revealed that some of the painted frames that made up the film were for purchase. It was a genius way of helping finance the film. Everything about this film was fresh and ground breaking.
I am a huge fan of Van Gogh. I myself studied on the London Institute of art and design many years ago so this was typically something I really enjoy. My favourite painting of Starry Night obviously was depicted, where the sky seemingly comes alive, and in this film it literally does. Definately for arty types like me, I couldn’t recommend this enough.