If you haven’t yet seen the award-winning film Loving Vincent I’d highly recommend that you do. Not only because it is about the life and death of one of the world’s most beloved artists – Vincent Van Gogh – but because of its unique production. It is the world’s first fully painted feature film using oils on canvas. The storyline was derived from more than 800 letters written between Vincent and his brother Theo.
Loving Vincent is a biographical animated drama about the life of Vincent Van Gogh, but more specifically about the circumstances surrounding his death. Comprising of 65,000 frames, each one is an oil painting recreated in the same style and technique as Van Gogh’s; the animation bringing to life each painting. The project includes the work of 125 painters, hand-picked from 5,000 applicants, who worked for five months to painstakingly paint each of the 65,000 paintings. The attention to detail is astonishing as every brush stroke counts when the paintings are blown up for the big screen.
All the characters in the film are based on characters that Van Gogh had painted throughout his lifetime, each painted scene in the film is based on live action, the cast was purposefully chosen to resemble his portraits. For the film production the actors were filmed on a green screen, these actions were then turned into black outlines and projected onto the artists boards. They painted in the full scene using Van Gogh pictures and references to inform them. Each completed painting was then photographed after which all the paintings in a scene were edited together to create a sequence, each painting being screened for a 12th of a second.
I left the film feeling sad for Van Gogh because of his obsession to be an artist yet he was not appreciated during his lifetime. I wonder how valued he might have felt if he could have known how many artists would have laboured to make this film. The results of which are breathtaking.