Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully hand-painted feature film, nominated for an Oscar for best animated feature, is now showing at cinemas in South Africa.

The ambitious film, an account of a young man’s journey to Vincent van Gogh’s hometown in The Netherlands, is told entirely through intricately crafted oil paintings in the artist’s unique style.

It was directed by Polish painter and filmmaker Dorota Kobiela and her producer husband Hugh Welchman.

“We are delighted to bring a groundbreaking film of this calibre to South African audiences,” says Helen Kuun, owner of Indigenous Film Distribution, which released the film in South Africa.

Every one of the 65,000 frames of Loving Vincent is an oil painting hand-painted by a team of 125 professional artists who travelled from all over the world to film studios in Poland and Greece.

We cannot speak other than by our paintings
Vincent van Gogh

“As remarkable as Vincent’s brilliant paintings were his passionate, ill-fated life and his mysterious death. The feature brings his brilliance to life through a fascinating and visually beautiful experience,” says Pascal Schmitz, head of acquisitions at AAA Entertainment, the Africa sales agent for Loving Vincent.

Van Gogh himself said in his last letter: “We cannot speak other than by our paintings.” The film takes him at his word and lets the paintings tell the story of his life and art.

“Landscapes pulse and throb, swirl and scintillate; brushstrokes bristle on skies or people’s faces like autumn leaves,” wrote the Guardian in the UK in its review of the film.

Loving Vincent was first shot as a live-action film with actors, and then hand-painted frame by frame in oils. It unites the performance of the actors playing Van Gogh’s famous portraits with the skill of the painting animators who brought these characters to life through paint.

Watch the trailer

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on March 4.

This article was paid for by Empire Entertainment.