Lust for Life
Release date: 17th September, 1956
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Over my summer break, I have took an interest in watching this film, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Irving Stone (1903-1989), and it focuses on the life of the tortured artist, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), and the reason this film got my attention, is because I have always admired Van Gogh’s works and he has served as an inspiration in my artworks; plus I have been reading Stone’s novel, and I want to see if the film did justice to the source material. Upon watching this 1956 classic, I absolutely admire this film, and can really appreciate the artistry and how inspiring this film carries in Van Gogh’s life and his works. Watching the scenes where Van Gogh travel to places; recreating the beautiful landscapes into his canvases, by sketching them out, has inspired me to gather the ideas for my next project, which is doing sketches of places I have been; from Paris to all around Suffolk. It also makes me think about my work afterward, and really appreciate the inspirations that Van Gogh has impact in my works and me as an artist.
- (Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh and Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin)
Story and My Critical Reception
The story focuses on the life of Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh, who is regarded by many as a tortured artistic genius. His obsession with painting and combined with his mental illness, leads him through an unhappy life, full of failures and unrewarding relationships. He earns some respect among with his fellow painters, especially Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903), but he does struggles to get along with them, and the only one constant good in his life is his brother Theo, who is unwavering in his moral and financial support. Van Gogh only manages to sell one painting in his lifetime.
The film shows Van Gogh’s love of art, and he once wrote to his brother, that it was impossible to see the world and not want to paint it. He saw the goodness of the simple people and showed his sympathy for them, which he struggles, due to his illness and his societal awkwardness.
The film is excellent and moving, and the end is truly beautiful in its tragedy. It is impossible to mention all the aspects of the film I liked but this classic can be seen based on Kirk Douglas’ (1916 – ) performance alone. Lust for Life is an unforgettable experience.
- (Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh)
‘No artist was ever more ruthlessly driven by his creative urge, nor more isolated by it from most ordinary sources of human happiness, than Van Gogh’. – (Irving Stone, 1935, back cover)
Vincent van Gogh
An 19th century Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, who is remember for his extraordinary amount of artworks, working in different art forms, and his bold colours and expressive brush works. Van Gogh has always been an inspiration to my art, and watching the “Lust for Life” film, which focuses on his life, has made me understands even more of his works and him as a struggling man. You watch him face his inner demons, and creating such brilliant pieces along his journey, yet it has gotten more recognizable after his death. He was truly one of a kind.
I have also visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, back at 2013, and upon seeing his work in front of my very own eyes, they made me double think about how extraordinary and influential his works really are, influences many, and visiting there is like being in an old abandoned world, with lost and sorrow being left behind. His drawings has inspired my sketches, because of the style and his composition he has to create many art, and his paintings has left an impact in my work, because of the subject matters, colours and details he has used and chosen to creates such excellent pieces.
Lust for Life: 1956 theatrical release poster
Lust for Life: Vincent van Gogh
Lust for Life: Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin
Stone, I. (1935). “Lust for Life”. London: Penguin Books