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'Loving Vincent' shows a glimpse of van Gogh’s life



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The film “Loving Vincent” immerses viewers into Vincent van Gogh’s world. The film was shown on Sept. 9 at IU Cinema as part of the Art and a Movie series.

The film was released in 2017 and was directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman.

Before the film, there was a pre-screening talk led by Nan Brewer, the Eskenazi Museum of Art's Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper. Brewer discussed a bit of van Gogh’s history, including techniques and influences, and also talked about a rare etching done by van Gogh.

Other than paintings, van Gogh also created nine lithographs and an etching. His doctor, Paul Gatchet helped him with the etching, named “L'homme à la pipe,” and created at least 61 prints. Twenty U.S. museums have a print in their collection. 

IU is one of three universites to possess a print of the etching, the other two residing at the Harvard Art Museum and the University of Rochester, Brewer said. 

All 65,000 frames of the film were painted by the hands of 125 artists, 75% of which were women, said Brewer. It took the artists four years to develop van Gogh’s technique, and two years for them to work on the frames.

“The reason we made the film is not because we want to be the first, or that we want to set any records, it is because we believe that you cannot truly tell Vincent’s story without his paintings, so we needed to bring his paintings to life,” the film’s official website said.

The film is based on 30 of van Gogh’s most famous paintings, including “Café Terrace at Night,” “At Eternity’s Gate” and, of course, “Starry Night.” The actors in the film created the scenes in front of a green screen, and then the whole thing was moved to editing. The artists painted the actors and the environments in van Gogh’s style, so that the film seamlessly blended together.

“I was intrigued by how the filmmakers were able to combine 21st-century technology with the artist’s 19th-century painting techniques, in order to bring his iconic artworks to life,” Brewer said in an email. “I felt that the Bloomington audiences would not only appreciate the tragic story of Vincent van Gogh’s life, but the artistry behind this unique biopic as well.”

“Loving Vincent” has won 18 film awards, including “Best Animated Film” for the Alliance of Women Film Journalists in 2018 and the “Original Vision Award” from the Indiana Film Journalists Association in 2017. It has also been nominated for 50 other awards, including an Oscar and Golden Globe, according to IMDB.

“I loved how they managed to capture the color palette with the yellows and blues, and the style changes representing the different changes of his life," said Aeris Meadows, a freshman studying art and fashion. "It was very touching. I felt like it was more than just a movie.”

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