Van Gogh (1991 film)

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Van Gogh
Van Gogh 1991 film poster.jpg
French theatrical release poster
Directed byMaurice Pialat
Written byMaurice Pialat
  • Gilles Henry
  • Emmanuel Machuel
Edited by
Distributed byGaumont
Release date
  • 30 October 1991 (1991-10-30)
Running time
158 minutes

Van Gogh is a 1991 French biographical drama film written and directed by Maurice Pialat. It stars Jacques Dutronc in the role of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, for which he won the 1992 César Award for Best Actor. Set in 1890, the film follows the last 67 days of Van Gogh's life and explores his relationships with his brother Theo, his physician Paul Gachet (most famous as the subject of Van Gogh's painting Portrait of Dr. Gachet), and the women in his life, including Gachet's daughter, Marguerite.

The film was entered into the 1991 Cannes Film Festival,[1] and selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 64th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[2]


Approach to biography[edit]

The film is noted for its anti-melodramatic[3] and unsensationalistic[4] approach to Van Gogh's life. For this reason it is often contrasted with Vincente Minnelli's Van Gogh film Lust for Life.[3][failed verification] Very little time is devoted to Van Gogh's art and work, with the bulk of the 158-minute running time occupied by the artist's often difficult personal relationships and declining mental state. The film omits most references to many of the most famous incidents in Van Gogh's life (including his attempt to cut off his ear in 1888) in favor of concentrating on the social dynamics of the late 19th century.

Writing in The Washington Post, critic Desson Howe explains: "In the movie, you don't see Van Gogh (Jacques Dutronc) complete the final brush stroke of a masterpiece, then call up old Gauguin for a celebratory absinthe. You do see a thin, stringy man, suffering from headaches, enjoying whores and moping around irascibly. Van Gogh denies you familiar highlights, keeps you from his working elbow and avoids the Ear Thing. But it shows you the quotidian stuff in between. This is the story of an artist being human, carrying canvases out or lugging them back in – their famous images intentionally out of sight."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Van Gogh". Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  2. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  3. ^ a b Chicago Reader: Van Gogh
  4. ^ BBC Review: Van Gogh
  5. ^ Desson Howe (January 1, 1993). "Washington Post Review of Van Gogh". Retrieved July 30, 2017.

External links[edit]