An Ode to Vincent van Gogh by Julian Schnabel

American actor Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh in Julian Schnabel's film "At Eternity's Gate."
American actor Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh in Julian Schnabel's film
American actor Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh in Julian Schnabel’s film “At Eternity’s Gate.”

Julian Schnabel’s latest drama film “At Eternity’s Gate” is scheduled to be released in theaters on November 16, 2018, by CBS Films. The movie, starring Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen and Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac, is about the last few years of Vincent van Gogh’s tumultuous life and his fiercely painful friendship with French artist Paul Gauguin.

Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) is one of the most influential figures in the history of Western art, celebrated for his talent in painting the light and holiness bouncing off simple things, such as flowers, vineyards, wheat fields, and starry nights.

The film, whose screenplay is written by Jean-Claude Carrière and Louise Kugelberg, is a melancholy tribute to the artistic process van Gogh followed, as well as a multifaceted exploration of the conflict between passion and madness.

“Madness is an interior thing. When I was 15, I took LSD. You’re high for a while, and then you think it’s over, but, no, this thing comes back to you. Madness is like that. Time collapses, and you think you’ve triumphed, but the unsettling feelings return. Van Gogh struggled with that: His demons were always there,” Julian Schnabel said to Lynn Hirschberg for W Magazine.

The director of “Before Night Falls” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” also spoke of Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh: “Willem was the only person who could play van Gogh. People have said he’s too old for the part, that van Gogh died when he was 37 and Dafoe was 61 when I cast him for the role. But van Gogh lived hard-his life should be measured in dog years. By the time he was 37, he was really 259.”

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