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Van Gogh (I) (1948)

 -  Documentary | Short
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 152 users  
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Title: Van Gogh (1948)

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Director: Alain Resnais
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Claude Dauphin ...
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Referenced in 2 x 50 Years of French Cinema (1995) See more »

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VAN GOGH {Short} (Alain Resnais, 1948) ***
28 February 2014 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Before acquiring a reputation as an elegantly formalist film-maker, Alain Resnais made a series of renowned documentaries some of which centered on the great painters or even individual works (such as Picasso's GUERNICA {1950}); this particular effort – obviously dealing with the tortured Dutch artist – went on to win both an Oscar and a prize at the Venice Film Festival. Van Gogh is perhaps the artist most picked on by the cinema, with at least four other notable films being made about him: the biopics LUST FOR LIFE (1956; the only one I have watched myself), VINCENT & THEO (1990) and VAN GOGH (1991), and the feature-length documentary VINCENT (1987)! This two-reeler, then, opts to tell his tragic life-story solely via narration (spoken by distinguished actor Claude Dauphin) accompanying stills – presumably in roughly chronological order – of the numerous canvases he signed illustrating the places, things and people around him and, of course, including his own famous self-portraits. Though occasionally repetitive and with their natural impact somewhat lessened by the absence of colour, Van Gogh's style is so well-defined (one might safely say that it has been over-exposed over the years) that his unique brushstrokes – no doubt an extension of the man's anguished personality – are instantly recognizable to even casual aficionados of the form!


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