Vincent Van Gogh – Why Him?

Why Vincent? There are thousands of artists who are well-known and celebrated from around the world. And yet, we all seem to be obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh. In the past year, I saw the Van Gogh Immersive in Charlotte. I visited a sparse collection with like mind-ed artists, from that time period, at the Columbus Museum of Arts. Recently, I listened to the first of a two part lecture locally, by Kathy Cleveland Bull, through the Jung Haus. With her urging, I watched “Loving Vincent” tonight. It was part of our homework assignment between now and the second half of her lecture. The second half will look at a psychological analysis of the family.

For myself, I have no real fascination with emerging myself in his work. I like his work, especially the Irises, but I have never really been a great fan of his. Not, as I am with Degas or Toulouse Lautrec, and Frida Kahlo, for example. This is not my first lecture though. I listened to a speaker in San Jose, over a decade ago, through a senior art class that a friend invited me to. This speaker was giving a presentation on a book that was published in Germany, (I believe), which argued that his ear was not cut off by him but from a sword fight he and another were in. There was discussion about the fact that it was illegal, at that time, to walk around with swords. The friend had brought them over to duel with one another in a “friendly,” boys will be boys adventure. At the end, the ear was severed and they did not want to get in trouble for illegally carrying weapons. Who knows?

When you watch the movie, Loving Vincent, you will be left with the fact that perhaps he was killed or that it was an accident but definitely not suicide. The San Jose lecture had us coming away with this as well. The gun had been discussed as a way to chase away crows so he could paint. The film had a different take on this. Who knows?

Like with Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood or other famous people, we will always wonder.

This small movie, is a version of events that were based on a fictional tale of a young man out to mail a letter to his brother Theo, after he had died. The story is a bit odd because Theo was by his side upon his death and had been there the entire time, after learning of his shooting. However, it is entertaining. The most exciting piece is watching Van Gogh’s art, come to life, differently than the movie Frida. In this case, the Polish/UK production chose actors to play the roles of the characters in his paintings. Then they had 100 artists hand paint every single moment in the film. The actors faces were put onto these paintings and it almost seemed very real if it weren’t for the brush strokes on their faces.

There are black and white scenes in the movie and this is because he did not paint these scenes. Therefore, you realize that when you see black and white, it is not from one of his paintings. At the end of the movie, the credits show the characters in the film and the real paintings next to them, so you can see who the real people were.

If you are at least a little bit curious, take some time out of your day to view this film. I found it on Kanopy which is through your local public library.

Join us on Facebook in a newly formed group called World Cinema and TV. This is a place where you can talk about your favorite films and TV shows from around the world.

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