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Vincent Van Gogh: A Self Portrait

USA, 1961 (MIFF 1963, Three Artists)

Director: Ray Garner

This feature length film, in colour, traces the life of the artist from his birthplace in Zundert, Holland, to Auvers in France, where he died. The "self portrait" title is derived from the fact that most of the content was supplied by Van Gogh himself - through his paintings and writings. The writings - read by Lee J. Cobb - are excerpts from a series of fascinating letters the artist wrote to his young and devoted brother, Theo. In those letters he revealed his innermost thoughts and his every activity - thoughts, the clarity of which belie the common belief that he was insane. The ravages of epilepsy, and the frustration of his vocation, caused his physical and mental health to break, while his poverty produced conditions of extreme privation which he was unable to endure.

These letters, his self portraits, the paintings, and glimpses of the landscapes which he knew so well, are welded into a remarkably poignant document of one of the most tragic lives in the history of art.

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