Van Gogh Sphere

Who would have thought paintings done by a man suffered from mental illness could become a blockbuster exhibition and appreciated by tens of thousands of people in more than 100 years time.

The paintings, revealing a man’s inner world through stunning colours, bold style, and brushstrokes inspired by Japanese woodblock prints, are not static. The pinenut trees and flowers, wheat fields and plain sky, all covered with layers of pigment and thick lines, making a statement of their own. I could also see a slim and lonely man sitting not far from them, rapidly sketching out their shapes, and fiercely making touches with his brush, or fingers.

Interestingly, his works have nowadays been recreated into replicas and become a source of income for peasant painters in China. In a Chinese village where there is no trees, no flowers, let alone wheat fields, the painstaking painters are self-teaching his techniques, applying them with their brushes, and perhaps adding a touch of their own imagination of the world he used to live in.

We all say that great art is invaluable, however when art becomes accepted, circulated, and a part of mainstream, they come in a price tag and distinct values. They then gradually form their own economy sphere — like the exhibition, the replicas, the moment another piece of work claimed to be inspired by Vincent.

As the end recipients of that economy sphere, we feel inspired by the strong energy and emotions those paintings convey to us and probably sympathise with the master’s suffering and experience. Behind that sphere, the struggle, isolation and frustration that once impacted or even drove the master’s works, may have been continued in today’s world, although in a different way.

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More Than a Dreamer

It’s very hard not to associate La La Land with The Artist, not just because of the singing and dancing part, but more the vintage style and nostalgia feeling the two films both have, even though I have pretty much forgotten about the actual story of The Artist.

La La Land has won 6 awards out of its 14 Oscar nominations. So it wouldn’t be surprising if La La Land harvest similar amount of attention as The Artist, who won 5 Oscars.

In fact, the film has already connected with audience on different levels all over the world, such as:

Naomi Watanabe dances to the theme music of La La Land.

and “Lie Lie Land”graffiti.

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Back to the film, the main characters-  Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling made a lovely couple — A young actress trying to build her career in L.A and a musician who is constantly facing the dilemma between art and living.  The opening and the ending scenes are the highlights of the film to me.  Especially, the ending is a flashback of the what-ifs that could have happened in their lives — a made-up “happy ending” that completes audience’s imagination for that couple, just as we have all wondered about wot-ifs at some stage of our lives. Watching the whole process actually unfolds in details are something that is quite powerful and fascinating.

Overall it’s a film showcasing the distance between dreams and reality, and the romance that happens on the journey from dreams to reality, presented with great music and dancing performances.  Not so much a film for Valentine’s day maybe, but is a good  option for couples who are facing choices or singles who simply want to fall in love.