If you want to make a premiere picture, you might as well steal from Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, a film widely considered to be the best of all time. It’s great for its acting, its cinematography, and its technical advances. But its easiest feature to ape is its storytelling structure. The story of Charles Foster Kane is told not necessarily as it happened but as other Kane’s family, friends, and acquaintances remember it as they’re interviewed by a reporter investigating the meaning of his final word “rosebud.”
Like Orson Welles, Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, the directors of the new film Loving Vincent reach for technical advances. Every single frame of the movie has been hand painted by a team of more than 100 oil painters, working in a style reminiscent of the film’s subject, Vincent Van Gogh. The film’s story, however is heavily inspired by Citizen Kane.
The movie starts about a year after Van Gogh’s death by self-inflicted gun shot wound. After several failed attempts to reach Van Gogh’s brother Theo, a young man, Armand, is tasked with finding someone worthy of receiving the final letter Van Gogh ever wrote. Though he considers it a pointless chore, Armand travels to Auvers-sur-Oise to find, Dr. Gachet, a close friend of the painter’s. Along the way, Armand meets many people who not only knew Vincent, but were also models for his painting. Everyone has a different, contradictory take on Van Gogh, especially the method of his death.
Is it possible Van Gogh was murdered? Does the manner of a man’s death mean more than the manner of his life?