“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”
- Vincent Van Gogh
It’s a motion picture about one of the greatest impressionist artist of all time, Vincent van Gogh, based on Irving Stone’s best seller bio-novel. The film is journey of an artist covering various stages of his life and career as an artist. Van Gogh began his career as a clergyman without qualifications; he was deputed to a remote place of underprivileged miners’ where he learned the hard face of life’s struggle. There’s no point in preaching people without living their lives and Gogh did exactly that. He’s true Christian who was rebel against the conformist religion governed by certain hypocrites.
For him, frustration came in many forms whether it’s agony he felt with miners or the not getting love in return, even his conjugal relationship with widow became hard to survive without money. He’s an artist lost in his own world and soon he discovered the world of great Impressionist masters who made his work dwarf. Next he went to Paris in pursuit of excellence and imbibed new methods of bringing nature alive on canvas. Throughout Gogh’s journey there are two people who supported him unquestionably, one was his brother Theo and the other was his guiding light Paul Gauguin. It’s Gauguin who brought the art of abstract imagination to Gogh who just painted natural landscapes and portraits before. “Art is an abstraction, not a picture book,” said Gauguin to him. Both Gauguin & Gogh were much under Impressionistic influence but Gauguin surpasses it and turned towards symbolist imagination where Gogh’s emotional response always framed impressionism. Arguments run frenzy between both and he mutilated his ear with blade in suicide attempt and landed up in asylum where he pursued his remaining life while continuing his passion.
Kirk Douglas enacted Gogh quite maturely and he looks lot familiar to Gogh too; same can be said about Anthony Quinn who played his friend and guide Gauguin. It’s the similarity and paradox between both of their arts which shows two different art school legends. Douglas got Best Actor nomination but it’s Quinn who won Best Supporting Actor Oscar quite deservingly. The flat conventional narration seems quite dragging one, it would be better if Director Vincent Minnelli had brought some subtlety in its structure as film bears artistic theme instead of highlighting biographical details. But perhaps that way the film didn’t reach the mass audience.
Its must watch for all rising and amateur painters and those who want to witness close proximity to the impressionist world of Van Gogh.