For the love of Vincent

The quaint north western town of Auvers, France is where this tale is told. Armand Roulin, the son of a postman, is given the task of delivering Vincent's final letter. Initially considering this responsibility as a burden, Roulin ends up investigating into the artist's mysterious death.

 

"The man was carrying nothing; his hands clasped to a fresh bullet wound leaking blood from his belly. This was Vincent van Gogh."

 

A tormented life. A battle with mental illness and poverty. Loving Vincent takes us on a journey, revisiting the final weeks before his passing.

 

 

Now when the news came out that a biographical drama about van Gogh was in production, I was beyond excited (and for anyone that knows me, this is a gross understatement).

 

Fast forward 30 seconds (after a quick google search) and I find out that the animated film Loving Vincent  is to be produced entirely of oil paintings. Yes. That's right. Oil paintings.

 

The first word that came to mind was "Avant Garde". This method of creating an animated film is ground-breaking. It's New. It's Unique. It's Experimental.

 

Now to understand, and fully appreciate what went into the film's production, let's step back in time and take a brief look at the history of animation:

 

The Zoetrope: Before there was film, there was the zoetrope. As the cylinder spins, the apparatus produces the illusion of movement via a sequence of images (think galloping horse)

 

The Flip book: A book with a series of images, that when flipped fast enough (usually with the thumb), simulates movement

 

Traditional animation: A series of hand drawn images or paintings where each frame is photographed and recorded on filmstrip (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was one of the first feature films produced using this technique)

 

Computer animation / 3D animation:  A technique where images are digitally modelled using computer software, often producing photo-realistic motions (Pixar's Toy Story was the pioneer of this style)

Now that you have had a crash course in animation, let me set the scene:

 

6 years of creative development

125 painters

65,000 frames

of which 1,345 were discarded

 

A dedicated group of 125 painting animators (yes you did read that correctly!) have masterfully converted reference material inspired from van Gogh's collection (and designed to mimic his style) into the world's first fully painted feature length film. 

 

 

A painting that typically captures a single moment in time has suddenly (over the course of 6 years) been transformed into a fluid creation. Each frame gives off the illusion of movement. Each image is carefully reproduced to imitate van Gogh's unique brush strokes and style. The colours. The textures. The symbols. It was like the film was painted by the master himself.

 

Now regardless of whether you are an art fanatic, or think the man was crazy for cutting off his own ear, I promise that you will love this film.

 

What do you imagine the next fully painted film will be?

 

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