Hand painted movie ‘Loving Vincent’ unique in many ways

Letter from New Delhi —

By Kul Bhushan

When the movie, Loving Vincent, ended in New Delhi, the audience in the ‘House Full’ hall started clapping. Such was the impact of this unique movie and especially its production that the rapturous applause was very much a spontaneous response even if the producers and the actors were not present.

It is unique as it is the world’s first fully painted animation feature film. Moreover, it is in the style of painting of its subject, Vincent van Gough. His distinctive and powerful brush strokes capture every second of its action. In 1965, the life of this artist was presented in a movie, Lust for Life, directed by Irvin Stone and starring Kirk Douglas and Antony Quinn. Winner of many Oscars, this movie was a shattering and humbling experience. I have never forgotten it.

Now I will never forget Living Vincent because the entire movie is an animated painting by Van Gough, the same strokes, the same brilliant colours and the same perspective e on the world around him.

The storyboard for the movie was created by works Van Gogh had painted, which were then modified for the screen. These ranged from simple alterations to re-imaginings incorporating different weather effects or time of day. In total 65,000 frames were painted by 125 artists as an oil painting, although the process of transferring them to film proved difficult with only 1,000 surviving the process.

No less than 5,000 artists applied for this project while only 125 were selected. Many others became very interested in this venture after watching an online “recruitment teaser” for the project. It is written and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman in a joint Anglo-Polish project.

The story is tight with twists and turns of a detective tale as the protagonist solves the mystery of the artist’s death

This is a landmark movie. Do not miss it, even if you don’t like Vincent van Gough.


Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper Editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi



*  Published in print edition on 10 November 2017

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