Van Gogh: A Brush with Genius
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Dive into the heart of Van Gogh s paintings. For the first time, discover in IMAX the fantastic colors and passionate brushwork of a great genius as they take on a new life before our eyes. Relive Vincent s life journey through his letters, see the places that inspired him, and the paintings. The film retraces the artist s footsteps, leading us through the painter s subject matter and sources of inspiration. From the Netherlands, to Arles, to Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, we rediscover the places and landscapes that have inspired some of the most essential works in art history. From the dazzling yellow of the cornfields to the deep blue of the sky, the entire palette of one of our most flamboyant painters explodes to light up the screen.
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The problem with the DVD (apparently not with the film as it was originally screened) was the transfer. The paintings as shown were nothing like the descriptions we hear from John Hurt's reading of the letters. I decided to research and learn whether anyone has or was slated to remaster this film and hopefully release a Blu-Ray version of "Vincent". I found no sign of any such project. I did, however, learn that a Blu-Ray of this Imax documentary, "Van Gogh: A Brush with Genius" was available and that's what led me to buy it instead. I watched it tonight.
For what it depicts in its 40-minute length of Van Gogh's work, it is wonderful, really beautiful. The concept and script, though, is appalling. We get a voice-over provided by someone with a heavy French (or Dutch) accent which, in itself, isn't much of a problem. The problem is the script for this narrator who is portraying Vincent himself speaking from beyond the grave. Vincent's ghost apparently very much likes this film's director and says that the director really understands his paintings. He also feels drawn to the real-life female archivist who works at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and who is shown extensively in the film studying Vincent's letters, sketches and worshipfully gazing at the paintings while stitting alone in the museum. Our narrator, supposedly Van Gogh himself, tells us he thinks both this film's director and the young woman (whom, it can be inferred, is the director's girlfriend or at least someone the director wishes was his girlfriend) are both people he would have liked to have known.
At least a third of the 40 minutes focus explicitly on the director and/or the young woman. And our narrator is talking about them! The rest of the scripted narration is choppy, skipping large portions of the artist's life and it's largely unenlightening.
Yet, to be fair, it is lovely to see close-ups of the paintings themselves in such high-def glory!
My last comment is that the Blu-Ray offers a couple of "extras". One is a 20-minute "The Making of..." which is yet again another love letter to the director himself! Of most value, though, is a 5-minute slideshow of 20 or so of the actual artworks without any narration, just an adequate musical score. That's probably the best thing to do with this Blu-Ray. Just play that 5-minute slideshow. You can loop it endlessly.
"Moi Van Gogh Brush With Genius" is a 40-minute feature film originally created for exhibition in IMAX Theaters, and is now available in this gorgeous Blu-ray format. I first watched this film on September 2009 at Ft. Lauderdale's Museum of Discovery & Science IMAX theater, and had been wishing to have a format to watch at home ever since. Kudos to Image Entertainment for this spectacular transfer to High-Definition.
Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.78:1
Audio: English DTS-HD 5.1 master audio/ French DTS-HD 5.1 master audio/ Japanese DTS-HD 5.1 master audio/ Spanish DTS-HD 5.1 master audio.
Chapters: 1) Paris today. 2) Peter Knapp. 3) the letters. 4) Auvers-sur-Oise. 5) Theo. 6) 7 year road. 8) Arles. 9) Gaugin. 10) St. Remi. 11) Doctor Gachet. 12) the end.
For a synopsis, please visit:[..]
This films pays homage to Van Gogh, the painter. The filmmakers have done a terrific job capturing Van Gogh's spirit, his love of painting and life. By having Vincent narrate the film, they have created a very pleasant experience. We feel him nearby, or as co-author Marie Sellier would say "as a friend". Visually the film is a treat. Image is clear and sharp, colors vibrant. The paintings (as well as sketches and drawings) are superbly displayed, either on canvas or with the use of close ups. You can almost "feel" the paint's texture & thickness, as well as brush strokes. It's truly amazing. The same can be said about the views of cityscapes, museums, buildings, landscapes & environments (Auvers-sur-Oise church, the Musée d'Orsay view from the Siene, Paris views, Amsterdam views, Van Gogh Museum exterior, wheat fields & vibrant sunflowers are a few examples). Video & narration are perfectly complemented by the film's magnificent score. Although melancholic at times, it is first and foremost a vibrant and energetic tune. I found the film to be not only informative and delightful, but also invigorating.
For those looking for an overview of Van Gogh's life and oeuvre, this film is an excellent choice. You may be inclined to learn more about this great painter after watching it. This film also makes a great educational resource (4 language audio option & run time makes it very handy). And finally, if you are already familiar with Van Gogh, you will most likely enjoy this film the most since, as I mentioned before, I believe it has captured his spirit. Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters and I absolutely loved this film.
Although some will probably wish it were longer, rest assured you will enjoy 40 minutes of accomplished film.
Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.78:1
Audio: Uncompressed PCM Stereo.
Behind the scenes: Interview with producer and director François Bertrand, director of photography Vincent Mathias, co-author Marie Sellier & composer Armand Amar. Approximately 20 minutes.
Van Gogh's art: Slideshow featuring selected paintings and accompanied by Armand Amar's beautiful score. Approximately 5 minutes.
Festival de la Géode 2009: Grand Prix.
GSCA 2009: Grand Prix (Best film of the year exclusively for the Giant Screen), Prix du meilleur film educatif (Best film for Lifelong Learning), Prix de la meilleure musique original (Best Original Score).
In addition, there is the main feature which lasts for 38 minutes. This is a brief and wandering biographical portrait of Vincent van Gogh, painted in slow strokes, of differing and uneven hues, textures and palettes, framed in an unusual artistic and interpretive French documentary.
The film is done in the 1st person narrative with Vincent van Gogh discussing his life, letters, family and work. The narrator is understandable, although you may have to listen carefully.
Paintings are from the Van Gogh Museum (in Amsterdam) and we see the beautiful objects and fanciful places, including incredible landscapes, from which Mr. van Gogh took inspiration.
Most recent customer reviews
Enjoyable story of the life of Van Gogh along with outstanding scenery.