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Release Date:
30 October 1992 (USA) See more »
The final sixty-seven days of Van Gogh's life is examined. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 wins & 12 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A problem film, but a notable one See more (19 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jacques Dutronc ... Vincent Van Gogh
Alexandra London ... Marguerite (Gachet)
Bernard Le Coq ... Théo Van Gogh
Gérard Séty ... Gachet
Corinne Bourdon ... Jo

Elsa Zylberstein ... Cathy
Leslie Azzoulai ... Adeline Ravoux (as Leslie Azoulai)
Jacques Vidal ... Ravoux
Chantal Barbarit ... Madame Chevalier
Claudine Ducret ... Professeur de Piano
Frédéric Bonpart ... La Mouche
Maurice Coussonneau ... Chaponval
Didier Barbier ... L'Idiot
Gilbert Pignol
André Bernot ... La Butte Rouge
Lise Lamétrie ... Madame Ravoux
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Remy Bourgeois ... Maître de danse (uncredited)
Véronique Chevallier ... La couturière (uncredited)
Christian Dubray ... Le controleur (uncredited)
Julien Haurant ... Coco (uncredited)
Christian Maes ... Musiciens Guinguette (uncredited)
Damien Sauvestre ... Le Docteur Mazery (uncredited)
Edith Vesperini ... Les filles (uncredited)

Directed by
Maurice Pialat 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Maurice Pialat 

Cinematography by
Gilles Henry 
Jacques Loiseleux 
Emmanuel Machuel 
Film Editing by
Yann Dedet 
Nathalie Hubert 
Hélène Viard 
Production Design by
Philippe Pallut 
Katia Wyszkop  (as Katia Vischkof)
Costume Design by
Edith Vesperini 
Production Management
Patrice Arrat .... production manager
Patrick Lancelot .... production manager
Cristobal Matheron .... production trainee
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Fabrice Grange .... assistant director
Alain Olivieri .... first assistant director
Marie-Jeanne Pascal .... first assistant director
Christophe Vassort .... first assistant director
Art Department
Gilbert Pignol .... painter (uncredited)
Eric Viellerobe .... props buyer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Jean-Pierre Duret .... sound engineer
François Groult .... re-recording mixer
Jérôme Henry Team .... stunts (as Jerome Henry)
Camera and Electrical Department
Paul-Claude Bessière .... key grip
Xavier Cholet .... electrician
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Thierry Delettre .... costume supervisor
Laurence Esnault .... costume trainee
Naima Lagrange .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Pierre Molin .... assistant editor
Music Department
André Bernot .... music: Marche et Accordéon (as A. Bernot)
Jean-Marc Bouget .... music: Guingette (as JM. Bourget)
Jacques Dutronc .... music: Valse et Polka (as J. Dutronc)
Christian Maes .... musician: Guinguette
Philippe Reverdy .... music: Mélodie (as P. Revedy)
Alain Rupin .... musician: Guinguette

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Le Musée d'Orsay  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de (as Musée d'Orsay Paris, RMN)
  • Société de la Propriété Artistique et des Dessins et Modules (SPADEM)  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de - 1991
  • ADAGP, Paris  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de - 1991
  • Fondation Vincent Van Gogh  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de
  • Van Gogh Museum  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de (as Musée National Van Gogh)
  • Carnegie Museum of Art  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de - Acquired through the generosity of Sara Mellon Scaife family, 1968 (as Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg)
  • Christie's Paris  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de
  • Detroit Institute of Arts  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de - Bequest of Robert H. Tannahill
  • Harvard University  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de - Bequest collection of Maurice Wertheim, class of 1906 (as Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • Kunstmuseum Basel  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de (as Oeffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, Kunstmuseum)
  • Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft  courtesy: Reproductions des tableaux avec l'aimable autorisation de (as Institut Suisse pour l'Etude de l'Art)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for sexuality and nudity
158 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Où va la jeune indoue (L'air des clochettes)See more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
A problem film, but a notable one, 6 December 2015
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

This long film, with Jacques Dutronc in the main role, is considered by the French to be Pialat's best. It seeks to be counter-intuitive -- and also to base its a-historical version of the artist on the conclusion that nobody who made that many paintings in the last 27 months of his life (which the film focuses on) could have been seriously impaired in function, either mental or physical; and that if he was crazy, he was high-functioning crazy. This Van Gogh has moody moments, but also laughs, drinks, has lots of sex, makes a lot of paintings, and doesn't have a cut ear. (Incidentally he also shows little sign of being Dutch; but neither did Kirk Douglas in Minelli's Lust for Life.) But this Van Gogh is also an enigma.

The best feature of Van Gogh is its eccentric, surprising period film naturalism, analogous to that of Rossellini's 1966 The Rise of Louis XIV/La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIX, or Pasolini's Neorealism- influenced period effects in The Gospel According to Matthew and his Decameron, Canterbury Tales, and Arabian Nights films. Probably Pialat couldn't have made this without the Nouvelle Vague and Jules et Jim behind him. Van Gogh's best moments are just throwaways that make scenes seem more "real" because they have little to do with advancing the "plot" or with "character development" -- like the choo-choo train cigarette puffing scene in Jules et Jim. Pialat's biggest influence as a filmmaker is said to be Jean Renoir. But in his Chicago Reader review Jonathan Rosenaum mentions Bresson and notes Bresson called his actors "models." Dutronc is very assured but is a non-actor, a singer primarily. As Theo the film uses the rather wooden Bernard Le Coq. In a sense they both, like the many extras who are or could be non-actors, are "models." And that, like most of the film, can be stimulating, but also frustrating, in a film about a figure people are so interested in.

The film excels at atmosphere, the way people wear their period clothes as if they were today's latest fashions, the everydayness of trains, meals, bars, and all the times Vincent refuses to eat or drink. And its key moments are its ensemble sequences, though one big one succeeds and the other fails. The highlight is a big collective picnic by the river Oise, with dancing, singing, Van Gogh doing an imitation of Lautrec and throwing himself in the river and getting fished out, and all in very long takes, with a wonderful, astonishing sense that we are right there the whole time. But the second long sequence, almost 20 minutes, is another story. It takes place in a Paris brothel with Vincent; Theo, away from Jo, his wife (Corinne Bourdon); Dr. Gachet's daughter Marguerite (a memorably vivacious Alexandra London) who's in love with Vincent and having an affair with him -- an invented plot twist; and a volatile prostitute Vincent has been involved with, Cathy (Elsa Zylberstein). This ambitious sequence meanders so much, is so unconvincing, and goes on so long, it winds up becoming merely boring and dreary and ruining the whole film at the point that should be its climax. In the end it is just confusion and debauchery, a distraction from whatever this is about; but that's where the film is best, otherwise. This is reminiscent of the long dance in Philippe Garrel's Regular Lovers/Les amants réguliers: but that becomes a magic moment, and is more germane because it's a film about a lost generation, not the end of a great artist. But if Pialat's Van Gogh is a failure it is a great failure.

Van Gogh's death is disconcertingly real, without poetry or drama, merely flat and grim. And then it's over, with a couple of hints in posthumous scenes of how famous Van Gogh will be. But there have been enough living and thought-provoking moments to make this a distinctive film and maybe one that says something about its ostensible subjects. Such a failure is, though frustrating, better than many people's successes.

Van Gogh (incidentally the French pronounce it "Van Gog," to rhyme with "jog"), 158 mins., opened theatrically in France 30 Oct. 1991, in the USA the same day in 1992. Vincent Canby wrote an understanding and clear review for the NY Times. Watched on a disk from Netflix 6 Dec. 2015, which has the option of no subtitles, English subtitles, or French ones, an unusual feature on US DVD's and a handy one.

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