REVIEW: Loving Vincent

By Elaine Sine

 

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Credit: Media Match

 

When I first watched the trailer for Loving Vincent by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, the colorful, vivid frames wove together and blended into an incredible cinematic storyline that immediately intrigued me.

Loving Vincent is noted as the first film to be entirely painted in its production, according to the movie’s website. The film’s creators stated, “we believe that you cannot truly tell Vincent’s story without his paintings, so we needed to bring his paintings to life.”

As an art and history lover, the fact that the film mimicked the iconic style of Vincent Van Gogh had already captured my attention, and I eagerly awaited its arrival. On September 22, 2017, the movie finally premiered in the United States. I immediately searched for theatres in my vicinity only to be met with disappointment.

I couldn’t find any showings in the entire state of Illinois, and I found out the movie was being released in certain parts of the country at different dates. The closest showtime for Chicago would be October 13.

Loving Vincent’s late arrival is due to the creators wanting to gauge its success in New York and California before releasing it nationwide, according to the movie’s website. Although I understand why they would like to observe the film’s success in media-hub cities first, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

Although I was upset I didn’t have the opportunity to see Loving Vincent, I didn’t want that to stop me from reviewing the film’s process. I was determined to find out more, so I started researching its conception, journey, and beauty in more depth.

According to BBC, Loving Vincent was intended to be a 7-minute short film by Dorota Kobiela. However, as the project developed, Kobiela knew she couldn’t complete such a massive project alone because it would be about an 80-year effort. A total of 65,000 frames were made with oil paints by more than 100 artists throughout the production process.

The New York Times cites the film takes an interesting twist on the perspective of Van Gogh’s death: was he the one who pulled the trigger on himself, or had there been another party involved? It presents a contradicting view on how other films, such as Lust for Life and Vincent and Theo, have portrayed him. He is not a suicidal soul in Loving Vincent, but a passionate artist reflected in his work.

Given what I’ve read about the movie, it seems that the real charm of the production is its historical stance as the first fully painted film. When I watched the trailer, I was more fascinated by its significance than the substance. The pictures were a bit choppy and hard to watch for a long period of time without my head hurting. A similar sentiment was echoed by The New York Times: “The story limps and drags, the viewer also becomes accustomed to the images, and astonishment at the film’s innovative, painstaking technique begins to fade.”

However, I don’t believe a negative review or opinion of any kind should discourage anyone from watching the movie. The making of Loving Vincent is truly beautiful in its dedication to portray an artist’s personality, and it’s an accomplishment in itself to have an art history film become so popular and loved. Although I think the timing has been a bit disorganized, it doesn’t take away from my desire to watch the film.

Once Loving Vincent is released in the Illinois area, I will be ready with tickets in hand to see the movie that is the talk of the town.

 

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