By Rachel Woodward, October 19 2017 —
On Oct. 13, Loving Vincent premiered in Calgary at the Eau Claire Cinema. The film sparked positive reviews, and for good reason. It’s hard to describe Loving Vincent in any other way than a masterpiece — or tens of thousands of masterpieces.
Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, the film follows a postman’s son as he attempts to deliver the last letter that painter Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother. The film’s production took six years and it’s no wonder why — each of the film’s 65,000 frames are hand-painted. As the world’s first painted feature film, Loving Vincent is appealing to those who have ever wondered what living inside of a painting would be like.
In total, 115 painters worked together to mimic van Gogh’s style and create the breathtaking film. The animation uniquely vivifies the characters’ facial expressions, which are extremely lifelike and natural. But the world around them holds the same impressionistic and distinguishable world that a van Gogh painting provides. Even the painted light emitted by candles is stunning.
The story of the Loving Vincent resembles a detective novel. It follows the postman’s son’s interactions with people who claimed to have known van Gogh and pieces together his eight years as an artist leading up to his suicide in 1890. The characters are fully realized and have a rich depth.
A great thing about this film is that you don’t have to be an art snob to enjoy it. Van Gogh’s art style is familiar enough to feel comfortable and the film’s aesthetic can be appreciated without extensive art knowledge. The acting also feels familiar, with actors like Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan and Jerome Flynn in key roles. It’s wonderful to experience such a wholly unique and new film concept.
Overall, Loving Vincent is a pleasure to watch. Moments with subpar dialogue or slow storyline progression only make the journey of the animation more impressive. The movie could be looked at frame by frame and each instant appears to be its own independent piece of art, woven together to create the film — because that’s exactly what it is. The production team are even selling stills from the movie.
Loving Vincent is playing at Eau Claire Cinema over the coming weeks. The movie creates the perfect ambiance for a solo outing to the theatre or for an artful date.