Tuesday, December 6, 2011

That strange, wild man . . . . .

Yesterday I watched once again the 2010 Doctor Who episode "Vincent and the Doctor." The more I see the episode, the more I'm starting to like it. The story has its flaws certainly, but there are moments that are extremely moving. For example, when the Doctor takes a despairing Vincent to a Van Gogh exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay in 2010, Vincent discreetly listens while the curator gives his opinion about the artist:

"To me, Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular, great painter of all time--the most beloved. His command of colour, the most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world . . . . no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived."


  1. Hi David. I have never seen this episode. I have never watched any film about Vincent either ...
    But what you quote is very touching, and oh ! how I wish he could have listened to this ... :)
    Cheers, L

  2. Replies
    1. unfortunately, nothing really is perfect (which is a hard thing to explain) in this world. really sad to me - that it is not, beyond a lot of things i can imagine and even think or bare to feel.

      perhaps though, the feelings Van Gogh expressed through his art - were perfect, in some sense. such as, he expressed the feelings he wanted to express through and in his art - perfectly.

  3. hello david. that is quite beautiful, and true imo, what the curator said. thank you for that.

    also, i was wondering if f102 had been updated to a higher-res? it is a slightly higher file size that i remember, though i may be wrong. but, the point is, f102 looks different to my eyes on your site now - it seems to have much more depth all around - color, texture, feel, etc. i have made it my background again, :-).

  4. I'm glad you've come to like the episode. I've been a fan of that show (and Vincent) since childhood and I honestly think it's one of the best things "Who" ever did. It's so clear that the writers, actors and production staff all did their homework, and that they sincerely love Vincent and his work. Points that particularly pleased me: the beautiful setting (they filmed in Croatia), the marvelous recreation of his bedroom and the night cafe, and the scene in the field at night where he tries to make them see the night sky as he does, and then all the stars above them come alive in a magical animated sequence of the "Starry Night" painting. (That was AMAZING and, together with the vignette in the museum you mentioned, are for me two of the most moving scenes I've ever watched in a television program...I don't know anyone who didn't tear up for both of those.) I also respected the way they portrayed the different layers of Vincent's personality--his enthusiasm and warmth and passion for art, the childlike directness of his emotional nature, his fits of suspicion and paranoia and defensiveness, the inner darkness of his loneliness and depression--and the violent, frightening abruptness with which his moods could shift. The actor who played him was absolutely superb; I would love to see him portray Vincent in a full-length film. I thought he particularly nailed the scene where Vincent plummets from a normal mood to sudden overwhelming despair and near-violent grief. That was so honest and brave and characterized the integrity of the episode as a whole. If I had a kid and I wanted to show him or her the world of Vincent and his art, I would not hesitate to start with this show.