Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Film: Loving Vincent

Today, Meetup was proving pretty unproductive, so I decided to go to a film. Top of the list, in terms of IMDB ratings, was Loving Vincent - a documentary about Vincent van Gogh, filmed completely as an artwork, oil paintings having replaced the film frames. Word has it you'd do better with this if you don't know much about him: which is perfect, as I knew very little. It's at the Odeon Panton Street, and I'd normally book, for the online discount, but frankly, the ticket price there is so low that the booking fee I'd have to pay with online booking is more than the discount I'd get!

God, I'm tired today. See, not only was I up late last night blogging - be glad of an early night tonight - but just as I was finally getting ready for bed (at nearly 2am), I got a crazy Meetup message from someone I would have considered a friend, accusing me of things I was completely innocent of, and calling me every name under the sun! Now, I wasn't letting that go - so I defended myself, posted proof of my side of things online, and promptly blocked her both on Meetup and as a contact on my phone. Someone said today that I should have given her a chance to apologise - but frankly, some things that are said can't be unsaid, and the way she's acted is just unstable. I can do without that stress in my life - goodness, I'd always be watching for her to do something like it again! Better off without her. Unfortunately, she's booked to go to a couple of Crick Crack Club things I'm going to, before the end of the year.. well, at least other friends of mine are going too, so I'll have some moral support!

Anyway, not only was I late to bed, but slept badly, and yawned my way through much of today. Including our late meeting, which ran even later than scheduled. Still, it's under 10 minutes' walk to the cinema, so I made it more or less in time. From Shaftesbury Avenue, just head south on Wardour Street until you see the Odeon sign. Now, I bought my ticket from a machine in the foyer - but used my loyalty card to pay, knowing I had enough points. Jeez though, it was a complicated operation! User Interface design obviously isn't the strong point of these machine manufacturers. Managed it in the end, got my ticket for free, and made my way into a fairly full screen, just in time for the trailers - which was nice, as I saw trailers for a few films I've heard the names of but nothing else about.

So the film stars Douglas Booth as the son of Chris O' Dowd, sporting an impressive beard, who plays the postman who ferried letters between Vincent and his beloved brother. The story takes place a year after Vincent's death, when the postman entrusts his son with finding the brother, to give him one last letter from Vincent, never delivered. Turns out the brother died not long after - they were very close, and it was thought he just couldn't bear to live without him - so the postman's son travels to Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent spent his last years, in the hopes of finding people who knew Vincent, and might know where to find Vincent's sister-in-law. Along the way, he meets a chest of characters who knew Vincent; Aidan Turner is the local boatman, Saoirse Ronan is the daughter of the homeopathic doctor who befriended Vincent, and whom Vincent was rumoured to be in love with, Helen McCrory plays his housekeeper. Also stars John Sessions and James Greene.

And you get to see them all as oil paintings! Now, not the entire film is depicted this way - the flashbacks are in charcoal. But my God, it all looks fantastic! The story moves along pleasantly enough - but it's such a delight to look at. With 100 artists working on it, it is so obviously a labour of love - to see the detail as they move from frame to frame, catching all the subtle character movements; the movement is so fluid and true-to-life that you nearly forget you're watching an animation. And the work that must have gone into depicting so many individual frames, just to achieve that reality.. and all in the style of van Gogh!

It's an absolute joy - and it's well worth staying for the first part of the end credits, where they explain how pretty much every character, every extra, their look, their costume - were based on paintings by van Gogh, showing the paintings side-by-side with photos of the actors. That, for instance, is why Chris O' Dowd has that big, impressive beard! This film is an absolute marvel, and I'm so glad I saw it.

Tomorrow, I'm with TunedIn London at Sands Films again, with Jean Paul Samputu, a Rwandan singer songwriter. Advertised via the World Music Meetup.

On Thursday, Let's Do This is at another classical concert - this time, at Morley College, for a Beethoven piano recital. Cool - I love Beethoven, but don't hear him enough. 

On Friday, the Crick Crack Club is back at Rich Mix, where Ben Haggerty, one of the co-founders of the club, is retelling the story of Frankenstein. Suitably spooky in this spookiest of months.. and I can think of no better performer to set the scene!

On Saturday, Spooky London Pubs is off to a "Pre-Hallowe'en" Psychic Fair at the King and Queen pub, just down the road from me. Free entry - well, I couldn't say no to that! Can always leave if it's not interesting. That's in the afternoon - that evening, I'm off to Oslo. The play, not the city! (Despite all my Scandic jaunts of late!) Taking place in the Harold Pinter Theatre, it tells the story of the Oslo peace accords. Has rave reviews. Cheapest tickets were with Amazon Tickets.

On Sunday, I'm with Walking in London (a Funzing group) for Southwark's Saucy Secrets.. Hope I can make this one in time!

On Monday, back with the Crick Crack Club - at Soho Theatre this time, with Nell Phoenix telling us all about Tricksterland: a favourite theme of hers! Don't worry - the crazy lady isn't coming to either of these, far as I know.

Next Tuesday, the London European Club (first time in ages!) - we're off to the Barbican for a dance production by the Michael Clark Company.

On the 25th, Walking Victorian London is doing a walk called Alexander Pope's The Dunciad.

On the 26th, Up in the Cheap Seats is off to Albion, at the Almeida. Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend again - hopefully, by that stage they'll have cleared the roads following Storm Ophelia.

On the 30th, I finally get to see Apologia, at Trafalgar Studios - London Dramatic Arts was going to this a while ago, but it was far too expensive on that occasion. Well, that's what you get for having Stockard Channing and Laura Carmichael in it! Amazon Tickets again.

And finally, I'm hoping for a nicely scary Hallowe'en.. when I heard that they were doing the first-ever stage production of The Exorcist - and what's more, it's on in the Phoenix Theatre, right behind the office.. well, that was fate, wasn't it?! I jumped to get a ticket for that, as soon as they went on sale - after all, Hallowe'en has to be its most popular night!

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