Top image: Still, ‘Loving Vincent’ (2017) dir. Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Words: Robyn Sian Cusworth
As the world’s first fully painted feature film, Loving Vincent transports the viewer into a lucid, oily world as seen through the pale blue eyes of Vincent Van Gogh, the tragic pioneer of contemporary art.
Directed by painter Dorota Kobiela and Oscar winning producer Hugh Welchman (Peter and the Wolf), the film breathes life into the landscapes and portraits of Van Gogh via 65 thousand individually painted frames by 125 international artists.
The feature centres around Van Gogh’s last days in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, where he died in a mysterious state of sanity. The suspected suicide unravels in lashings of colour following the young and severe Armand Roulin – born from Van Gogh’s famous portrait and portrayed by Douglas Booth (Riot Club, Jupiter Ascending) – who is sent to deliver a letter to Vincent’s brother Theo, after hearing that the artist had shot himself.
Learning more, Armand sensitises to a world that he was so willing to take on with a clenched fist. Alongside Booth, the experimental film sees a best-of-British cast including; Aiden Turner (The Hobbit), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark) and Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones).
Together with the poetic visuals, the words of Van Gogh resonate throughout the story, sourced from 800 of his personal letters, revealing the heartache and drive that was inside the imitable artist. Here, we speak to the film’s directors to discover the process and production behind this unique project.