Arts and Culture

In October, the Speed Cinema starting screening the art film “Loving Vincent.” Staff were expecting some general interest, but nothing too overwhelming.

Now, two months later, the cinema has had 54 consecutive sold-out shows.

“You know, I thought it would do well. I did not think it would have, like, the record-breaking film that it’s turned out to be,” said Dean Otto, the Speed’s film curator.

“Loving Vincent” is a story depicted in oil-painted animation of a young man who comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days there.

There are 91 of Van Gogh’s paintings directly reproduced in the film and an additional 30 or so frames that reference his work.

“It was shot with live actors first and then the directors chose a technique called rotoscoping where a team of animators — 125 animators working in studios in both Poland and Greece — worked on the film,” Otto said.

Otto contributes part of the film’s overwhelming success at the Speed Cinema to how visually stunning it is.

“I think a lot of people come multiple times because the first time they are watching the film very closely for the visual style,” Otto said. “[It is] so entrancing they miss a lot of the plot of the film and they come back a second time to concentrate on the story within the film. It lends itself to being seen multiple times.”

Otto also said that since the Speed Cinema doesn’t operate like your normal commercial movie theater with multiple showings of a single film every day, there has also been a level of anticipation locally for each additional screening.

According to Otto, “Loving Vincent” is already sold-out at the Speed through December 30, but there will be additional screenings Jan. 3-13. More information is available here.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.