For the second episode of the Speakeasy Cinema Podcast, we will be examining the stunning new biopic, Loving Vincent. Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, this painted animation — the first film of its kind — explores the life and unusual death of Vincent Van Gogh via depictions of his artworks.
One year after Vincent Van Gogh died, Postman Roulin (Chris O’Dowd) asks his son Armand (Douglas Booth) to personally deliver Van Gogh’s last letter to his brother, Theo, after previous attempts to send the letter had failed. Because of his father’s affection for the painter, Armand begrudgingly accepts the task.
Armand travels to Auvers-sure-Oise, the northern French town where Vincent died and where a close companion to Vincent, Dr. Gachet, lives. Having to wait until the doctor returns from business, Armand meets many of the people of that village who not only knew Vincent, but were also models and inspirations for his art.
The film plays a game of telephone as Armand doggedly tries to reconstruct van Gogh’s final weeks and shed light on the circumstances of his death. In doing so, Armand becomes increasingly fascinated in the psyche and fate of Van Gogh as numerous suspicious details fail to add up. He comes to realize that Vincent’s troubled life is as much a matter of interpretation as his paintings.
The visual achievements of this biopic make it well worth seeking out. The rough brushstrokes and pulsing, swirling landscapes imitate the unique post-impressionist style of Van Gogh himself and create the movement that his still paintings have always depicted.
Speakeasy would like to give a special thanks to The Athena Cinema for allowing us to view this film.