Thu 22 March 2018
Movie “Loving Vincent” is certainly an experience worthy of the tickets to go to the cinema. The main idea of it is to make “animated” film by painting endless number of quality oil paintings in the style of Vincent van Gogh about the painter himself. I have been warned that this idea is actually by far the strongest part of the film, and that the story of the film itself is by far the weakest part of it. I won’t do the spoilers here, but yes the end comes rather flat.
The visual side has been however troubling as well. It is truly beautiful, there is no question about that, but this film showed me the great difference between pictures (especially ones in the tradition of post-van Gogh painting, what a irony!) and films. The great pictures (in all traditions, it applies perfectly well even to Rembrandt’s “Return of the prodigal son”) are best when they don’t tell the whole story, but when they are more a catalyst to make a viewer sit down and think her own story. From this point of view, van Gogh was (with a bit of artistic license) the first painter who stressed this role of pictures even more by omitting a lot of realism and leaving just those catalyst parts of the image.
On the other hand, the biggest beauty of every film is a story. Some films are beautiful, have pretty pictures, but what makes or kills it is how the story is made. There is endless list of beautiful pictures which lack a good story (the review of this film points as an example to “What Dreams May Come”). I don’t want to deal now with quality (or lack of thereof) of the story of this film, but I want to emphasize that perception of a film is quite different from the perception of a picture. This difference in perception made me torn to two sides by two different both unpleasant feelings. While beautiful pictures made me feel constantly “Wait! This was a beautiful picture, I would like to watch it properly!” I had also constantly that feeling that I forgot my glasses at home (no, I don’t need glasses for watching films yet). Images in films are not supposed to be abstract, thought-inducing experience, they are suppose to reveal and deliver a story. I had that constant feeling “I would love to see how this girl looks in reality.”
So, my conclusion is that it was a great idea. I don’t care that much for the quality (or not) of the film as a film, or a detective story. It was a great experience, I came to new appreciation of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, but do I welcome the inevitable avalanche of imitations of this film which are to be expected? No, I think once was enough.