I’m not entirely sure how I missed this when it originally came out, but “Loving Vincent” is the first ever fully painted feature film and it looks gorgeous.
“The film brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life to tell his remarkable story. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting hand-painted by 125 professional oil-painters who travelled from all across Europe to the Loving Vincent studios in Poland and Greece to be a part of the production. As remarkable as Vincent’s brilliant paintings, is his passionate and ill-fated life, and mysterious death. No other artist has attracted more legends than Vincent van Gogh. Variously labelled a martyr, a lustful satyr, a madman, a genius and a layabout, the real Vincent is at once revealed in his letters, and obscured by myth and time. Vincent himself said in his last letter: ‘We cannot speak other than by our paintings’. We take him at his word and let the paintings tell the real story of Vincent van Gogh.
Loving Vincent was first shot as a live action film with actors then hand-painted over frame-by-frame in oils. The final effect is an interaction of the performance of the actors playing Vincent’s famous portraits, and the performance of the painting animators, bringing these characters into the medium of paint.”
Inspired by the famous folk tune, “This Land is Your Land” written by Woody Guthrie, Barry Underwood’s series affirms his standing as an environmentalist photographer and ecological advocate. Written in 1940, the song’s original lyrics introduced a critical perspective to the idealistic view of America as Underwood’s images challenge the common bucolic perception of the landscape.
Underwood marks the landscape with LED lights, luminescent substances and other physical processes, utilizing lustrous color and working with shapes, lines and light to point to the immutable traces that human interventions leave behind. By staging a visual disruption in an otherwise familiar setting, Underwood seeks to reveal the unseen potential instilled in the landscape. As a result of the interplay of the natural and unnatural, he creates strikingly beautiful, otherworldly visuals enhancing awareness of environmental issues.
He writes, “The landscape has been and continues to be altered by ambitious human activities linked to political, social, economic, climactic, and aesthetic forces. I am particularly interested in connections between land use and the interpretation of a landscape as a politically symbolic environment, reflecting human activity and one’s own self-definition, as well as our values and beliefs.”