Imagine seeing a movie that was completely painted–every single frame. When we heard about “Loving Vincent,” a new movie that does just that, all while exploring one of many theories about how and why Vincent Van Gogh committed suicide, we were elated to find out that it would also count for our cultural event project for French class. Every advisory we are required to complete a cultural event for French class, so on a Saturday afternoon we headed over to the Avalon, ready to get advisory one under our belt.
We didn’t fully understand what a painted film entailed, so the opening credits came as a great surprise. Every single scene of the movie resembled Van Gogh’s paintings, starting with “Starry Night.” It took a while for our eyes to adjust to this new art form, as the movie was more choppy than animated movies of today’s time, reminding us vaguely of clay animation.
The story was set in Auvers, a small town in France. It follows the son of the postman in the town trying to deliver the last letter written by Van Gogh, addressed to his brother. However, as our main character tries to do this, he discovers the brother has also died, and he quickly becomes caught up in trying to figure out exactly what happened to Van Gogh–did he really kill himself? Was he harassed by bullies? These are questions that have haunted fans of the artist’s work for over 100 years.
The film, made up of 65,000 frames, took up over 850 canvases. Referring to the first ten seconds of the film, “it might have taken 20 weeks to paint that 10-second shot – you’re looking at half a year of someone’s life,” said Hugh Welchman, the co-director of the film, in an interview with The Guardian. The highlight was definitely the animation–the amount of work that went into it is mind-blowing, and made the whole experience way more special.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS