Loving Vincent, is the first feature film to be entirely painted. While this achievement is momentous enough to receive attention, the underlying story of the film and its production is even more magnificent!
The film started out as a simple idea in the mind of co-director Dorota Kobiela. She had been reading the letters of Vincent van Gogh and fell in love with them. She decided that she should make a short film about the famous artist, hand painting each frame herself.
After receiving a grant for the short, Kobiela started working for BreakThru Studios as an animator and a concept artist. There she met the other co-director of the film, Hugh Welchman who thought her short might have more potential as a feature film.
The film is an interesting combination of CGI and oil-paintings that bring the world of Van Gogh’s paintings to life.
To achieve this stunning look, the filmmakers separated the animation process from the painting process. They would shoot reference footage of the actors against a green screen, then the artists would paint the actors and the background into the scene frame by frame.
The distortion of Van Gogh’s original paintings proved to become an issue for film translation. A post production team was on set throughout principal photography to ensure that the footage shot would actually be usable.
Aside from the spectacle of the visuals, the story of Loving Vincent, is what distinguishes the film from other biopics like it. The film follows the aftermath a year after Vincent van Gogh’s suicide. We only get glimpses at the artists through the eyes of other people, but doesn’t make him any less sympathetic or what he did any less sad.
We see how it affected the residents of the artist’s final destination and the people who were closest to him. Whoever they were, his death affected them greatly.
The most valuable thing about Loving Vincent, is not the dazzling visuals; it is the added dimension we receive the a great man like Vincent van Gogh. Throughout the film, the viewer witnesses pivotal moments in the artist’s life that shaped him and perhaps destroyed him.
What did you think of the film? Do you have any suggestions for what film I should watch next?
Let me know in the comments!