Sunday April 15th 5:00 PM
United Kingdom/Poland 2017
Director: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Cast: Jerome Flynn, Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson
Runtime: 95 minutes
Academy Award & Golden Globe Nominations: Best Animated Feature; Vancouver International Film Festival: Most Popular International Feature; Shanghai International Film Festival: Best Animated Film. 11 other wins, 47 nominations.
“A visually arresting and worthy tribute to a genius.”—Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
Lovingly is the way Loving Vincent was created. It took seven years to complete this look at Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s final days in a rural Paris suburb. Making their feature-directing debut together, Poland’s Dorota Kobiela and the U.K.’s Hugh Welchman started by filming live actors against green screens, and then had hundreds of animators and technicians add layers of oil-paint colour and texture to the footage, creating the impression of the artist’s famously thick brush strokes.
They use many of his best-known paintings as starting points, and as backgrounds or transitions, for their own story. They focus on the nebulous circumstances of van Gogh’s suicide at age 37, in 1890. Douglas Booth plays Armand Roulin, a hard-drinking dandy in a yellow jacket who is tasked with delivering a posthumous letter by his dad, the muttonchop-whiskered postmaster (Chris O’Dowd) of Arles, in southern France, where the painter found his swirly, post-impressionist style.
Among latter-day friends and antagonists, there’s Brooklyn’s Saoirse Ronan and The Hobbit’s Aidan Turner, Helen McCrory (Penny Dreadful), and Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones) as Dr. Gachet, a father figure with an ambiguous role in the manic ups and downs of the painter and his sickly younger brother, Theo.
Both van Goghs are played by Polish actors in black-and-white flashbacks. The visual approach is consistently compelling on-screen. Be sure to stay for the credits, to catch photos and sketches of the real-life characters, and to hear Lianne La Havas’s take on “Starry, Starry Night”. It’s a lovely book-end to a visually stunning movie.