Lust for Life

Lust for Life

DVD - 2006
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Kirk Douglas gives a fierce portrayal as the artist torn between the joyous inspiration of his genius and the dark desperation of his tormented mind.
Publisher: [Burbank, Calif.] : Warner Home Video, [2006]
Edition: Widescreen version
ISBN: 9780790795720
Branch Call Number: DVD LUST
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (122 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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Jan 09, 2017

I thought Kirk Douglas did an amazing job portraying a cleaned up version of Van Gogh. Maybe overacting a tad but if he was going for an impulsive and manic artist vibe, he pulled it off. Van Gogh's paintings are surprisingly blissfully optimistic for such a tortured soul, with the exception of his self portraits. Interesting about Van Gogh's failed ministry at the start.

Dec 05, 2014

Vincente Minnelli’s cinemascope biopic on the tortured life of artist Vincent van Gogh is based on Irving Stone’s novel of the same name. In one of his signature performances, Kirk Douglas traces the evolution of Holland’s most famous son as he goes from frustrated evangelist to impassioned painter increasingly frustrated with his inability to break down that “iron door” separating what he perceives from what he is able to portray on canvas. Falling in with the unpopular Impressionist school while staying with his brother Theo in Paris, Van Gogh’s tentative sketches eventually gave way to the vibrantly coloured interiors and landscapes he was to become famous for. Unfortunately, despite Theo’s moral and financial support and the gruff encouragement he received from fellow artist Paul Gauguin (an Oscar-winning Anthony Quinn) Vincent slowly succumbed to the crushing loneliness and mental instability that seemed to be his lot in life while his works received little if any critical attention. After several bouts of debilitating anxiety attacks, including one that prompted him to slice off his own ear, and a few voluntary stints in asylums, Vincent eventually died penniless at the age of 37, a suspected suicide. Douglas’ animated performance shows us a man of great genius—and great pain—who struggled to express his impressions of light, colour, and texture with oils and paintbrush. With cleverly constructed sets and location shots along the coasts of Holland, Belgium, and France, Minnelli brings the master’s works to literal life as we see his paintings juxtaposed with the actual forests, buildings, and sun-drenched wheat fields which inspired them—apparently the director had one section of a field spray-painted so that its colour would more closely match Van Gogh’s work. With a narrator reading Vincent’s letters to his brother, as well as some intensely staged exchanges between the fiery Dutchman and the equally volatile Gauguin, Minnelli offers us the briefest of glimpses into the working of an artistic soul—a feat not easily accomplished using the medium of film.

Sep 12, 2013

Anthony Quinn delivers one of the great Oscar winning performances.

Jul 09, 2013

Appears factually correct re details of his life, but Kirk Douglas is a rather more muscular and energetic Vincent than is believable. Not his fault, he was a big star at the time and this is a well-made movie, just miscast in my opinion and that rather spoiled it. Great eye candy, technicolour serves the paintings well.

Jul 06, 2013

Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn deliver the goods in their respective portrayals of Van Gogh and Gauguin. The movie was a little bland, but watchable. Interesting Wikipedia info states that, unlike the sanitized '50s depiction of Vincent's self-mutilation, after confronting Gauguin with a razor blade, he left in a panic and fled to a local brothel. (He often visited prostitutes.) While there, he cut off parts of his left ear, probably his left earlobe and some more. He wrapped the severed ear in newspaper and gave it to a prostitute. Also, some proposed diagnoses of the cause of the lonely soul's mental illness include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, syphilis, poisoning from ingesting paints, temporal lobe epilepsy, and acute intermittent porphyria. Any of these potential culprits could have been aggravated by negative factors of his lifestyle, namely, malnutrition, overwork, insomnia, and consumption of alcohol (especially absinthe, to which he had an affinity).


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Jul 06, 2013

Paul Gauguin: "What's all this talk about Arlesian women? I haven't seen a good one yet." Vincent Van Gogh: "They must've heard you were coming and they locked them up. ...Ah, wait'll you see, Paul, there's something about them... The way they carry themselves; even, even the old ones. A certain classic grace and dignity." Paul Gauguin: "Dignity--I'm talkin' about women, man--WOMEN... I like 'em fat and vicious and not too smart. Nothing spiritual either. To have to say 'I love you' would break my teeth... I don't want to be loved."


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