Loving Vincent brings Van Gogh's art alive

(REUTERS) - You have seen his Sunflowers in a museum, sung along with Don McLean to Vincent (Starry Starry Night) and gawped at the tens of million of dollars his works have fetched at auction. But you have never seen Vincent Van Gogh's art quite like it is shown in the film Loving Vincent.

Seven years in the making and billed as the world's first fully-painted feature film, Loving Vincent uses more than 130 of the Dutch artist's own paintings to tell his own story. Each of the 65,000 frames of the animated independent film, created by Polish artist and animator Dorota Kobiela, is an oil painting hand painted by 125 professional artists who traveled from around the world to be a part of the project.

Loving Vincent, showing in limited release in New York and Los Angeles and arriving in Europe in October, was first filmed with actors playing some of the people Van Gogh captured on canvas. They include Saiorse Ronan as doctor's daughter Marguerite Gachet and Chris O'Dowd as postman Joseph Roulin, who walk through and inhabit his paintings as his story unfolds.

Then came the hard part: finding and training the painters to reproduce Van Gogh's work. More than 4,000 artists from around the world applied for the job and 125 were chosen and put through three weeks of training.

The US$5.5 million (S$7.47 million) production focuses on the last weeks of Van Gogh's life before his death in 1890 in France at age 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.