The biography of Dutch artist Van Gogh, illustrated only with images of his paintings and drawings, or details of those, and according dramatic musical score.

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The biography of Dutch artist Van Gogh, illustrated only with images of his paintings and drawings, or details of those, and according dramatic musical score.

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Documentary | Short

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September 1948 (Italy)  »

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1.37 : 1
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Referenced in 2 x 50 Years of French Cinema (1995) See more »

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Affecting -- but puzzling
21 June 2005 | by (LA CA) – See all my reviews

The key events of Vincent Van Gogh's life are narrated (by Claude Dauphin in the French version, and by Martin Gabel in the English), and illustrated by the paintings, with appropriately heightened music score attached. That's it...and that's certainly enough, given the extraordinary interconnection of this particular artist's private life and his career. I have to say that it's extremely puzzling, not to say disturbing, that the entire film is in black-and-white, as if Van Gogh had made only charcoal sketches or woodcuts. Here's a short that cries out to be remade: Digital would make it easy to replace the B&W footage with color photography of the artworks, and both narration and score could remain as is. I was also dismayed that though the film has credits attached, Resnais's name does not appear on the English language print owned by UCLA and screened at the Motion Picture Academy last night. The audience seemed interested and moved, but surely they would have been more so if they'd known that this was an early work by the man who later employed many of the same techniques to memorable effect in "Last Year at Marienbad."


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