Well, I went to see Loving Vincent at the Balwyn Cinema. A number of my discerning readership is accomplished in the visual arts, so I thought a mini-review might be of interest.
I had no idea, really, what the film would be about. I did absorb the fact somehow that a large number of artists had worked on making an animated feature which was based visually on Van Gogh’s paintings. What I didn’t know was that, instead of being a quasi-documentary, as I had vaguely imagined, there is a narrative which revolves around an undelivered letter addressed to the artist. A year after Van Gogh’s demise, and following several unsuccessful attempts at delivery through the mail system, a postmaster charges his son with taking this letter to Avers-sur-Oise, the site of the artist’s death. Got that? Good, read the IMDB entry; there will be a short test following! Now forget about it, and read on.
I must confess that I didn’t stay until the end of the film. However, this was really because outings are still a bit problematic for me, in terms of urinary continence, and I felt like getting home. (Spare pads were definitely useful! I imagine those who have had children, or have taken them on outings, will know the drill.) I did stay for 75% of it, and would, under normal circumstances, have seen the lot. It is certainly no hardship to see Van Gogh’s late period pictures so lovingly rendered on the big screen. I liked the landscap-y bits more than the dialogue. The face of each character was based on that of the actor doing the voicing, so that, for example, Doctor Jabert’s housekeeper somewhat resembled Helen McCrory. The animation made the faces creep alarmingly, as if they were having a palsy of some kind. However, the cast does a very fine job, although the regional British accents are a little unexpected. (This was preferable, however, to having English-speaking actors putting on an ” ‘Allo, ‘allo” cod French accent; still less a Dutch one.) Under the circumstances, the mystery about the artist’s death didn’t really register, as it might had I felt able to see the whole thing. But just drink in the visuals; they are quite stunning. And I can guarantee you will never see a film like it this year!