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Remi Award film The Eyes of van Gogh  



A film by Alexander Barnett on Vincent van Gogh


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DVD cover A film by Alexander Barnett on Vincent van Gogh
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The Eyes of Van Gogh
A new film by Alexander Barnett about Vincent van Gogh.

The Eyes of Van Gogh written and directed by  Alexander Barnett,  is a story, never told before, about the 12 months Vincent van Gogh  spent in the  insane asylum  at  St. Remy.  It is a film about his  brotherTheo van Gogh (Gordon Joseph Weiss)  and about Vincent and  Paul Gauguin (Lee Godart)  in the  yellow house  in  Arles.   It is a film about painters and artists, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.  Most important, it is a film about madness; a  film of obsession.  After the disastrous months spent with Gauguin in the yellow house in ArlesVincent van Gogh in desperate search of  a cure  from attacks that increasingly  plague him,  voluntarily enters an  insane asylum  in the town of St. Remy 10 miles from the yellow house. Van Gogh, portrayed by  Alexander Barnett,  entrusts himself to the care of  Dr. Peyron,  played by  Roy Thinnes.   The intent of  The Eyes of Van Gogh  is to get inside Vincent's head.  By using a  subjective camera  throughout the entire film, everything seen and felt is from van Gogh's point of view.  When the film shows van Gogh's  relationships with his brother Theo, with the artist Paul Gauguin, or his  father Theodorus van Gogh,  or in the yellow house in Arles or the  insane asylum  in St. Remy, we   see things as  Vincent sees,  imagines, dreams or remembers them.  The Eyes of Van Gogh  strives to give objective expression to his  inner experience,  i.e., to show what Vincent was thinking and feeling; to explore his  sense of madness,  his  obsession to paint,  what it means to be an artist.  The purpose of  The Eyes of Van Gogh  is not for the audience merely to be a witness, but rather for them to live within the image and to  participate psychologically  in the action of the film.  Vincent's mind, from beginning to end, is always engaged.  Van Gogh's confusion, struggle, bewilderment and desperation - his madness - grow and grow.  Vincent is never  totally in the present.   


                                Alexander Barnett and Gordon Joseph Weiss film the eyes of van gogh

Through  hallucinations and obsessions,  terrifying dreams and  wrenching memoriesThe Eyes of Van Gogh tells a tale of magnificent battles.  The film visualizes the drive and complexity, the heroism and agony of a  great artist,  a great painterand a great man.  Alexander Barnett's  The Eyes of Van Gogh  explores through film  the theme of an artistic mind in torment, a creative soul in despair, an exquisitely sensitive being ravaged and destroyed by cruelty, wracked by indifference, loneliness and obsession, yet desperately seeking to live, to hope, to  finish his work,  



Van Gogh hallucinating Alexander Barnett film eyes of van gogh

to find a path other than those leading to madness or death. 

The constant obsession to pigeonhole  van Gogh's madness,  to give it a specific name, to use it to explain his actions, to claim that the very quality of his personality and his genius can be  attributed to a specific malady is exposed in The Eyes of Van Gogh as utter rubbish.  Vincent van Gogh was completely original both in his work as an artist and in his madness.  Certainly Vincent had severe  emotional problems  and no doubt they were exacerbated by malnutrition and traumatic experiences, but ultimately, as The Eyes of Van Gogh reveals, Vincent was defeated by an  immense sensitivity  and an overwhelming empathic nature that was unable to cope with the reality of the world and the nature of most people.  In spite of what most think,  the film shows  that van Gogh was a realist both           in his life and his work, but his reality was light years beyond everyday reality and therein lay the genius of Vincent van Gogh.  Vincent indeed saw life as it was but was never able to come to terms with it.  Most realists become cynics, but van Gogh was totally incapable of this.  When an artist becomes a cynic, he also becomes a hack and is no longer capable of producing heartfelt work.  Technical virtuosity may remain, but the "soul" of the work is lost.   Vincent van Gogh  never lost either.  By the world's standard of normalcy, then and now, Vincent was not an idealist but quixotic.

As the film envisions,  Vincent was extremely  difficult  to deal with.   Dreaming of murdering Theo's child film eyes of van gogh Alexander Barnett

Gauguin  and even  Theo  found him impossible to live with.  All van Gogh thought about, all he cared about was the work.  Nevertheless,  Theo  always thought that Vincent was a great and unique individual.  As revealed by the film,  Vincent's  desire to work with others  came from loneliness more than anything else.  Vincent did indeed have an  obsession to educate  and inspire people.  But he strove to do so through his work, which superseded everything else.   The narrative of Vincent's life and of the film The Eyes of Van Gogh  is that the artist must strive with every fiber of his being to finish his work.