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“Loving Vincent” and “Small Mouth Sounds”

Loving Vincent

From Loving Vincent website

Thanks to Betsy for recommending this remarkable film. We don’t go to movies very often, so it speaks to her high praise that it was able to get us out on a Saturday night. Honestly, I almost switched to Thor at the last minute, but I’m glad we didn’t.

Loving Vincent explores the last days of Vincent Van Gogh’s life and an alternate explanation for his death. We wonder whether or not he shot himself? The question is explored by Armand Roulin, the son of an Arles postmaster. The postmaster had befriended Van Gogh and sent his son to deliver Van Gogh’s last letter to his brother, Theo. On this quest, Roulin travels to Paris and Auvers-sur-Oise, the northern French town where Vincent died, and speaks with people who were present in the last days of Van Gogh’s life. The story is gently developed from there.

However, the story is not the reason to see this film, directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. The reason to see Loving Vincent is the 6400 handpainted frames, which took over four years to complete. Watching this movie is like wandering through a museum filled with Van Gogh’s works. It is a chance to more fully explore his artistic style and what it is that makes a Van Gogh special.

Loving Vincent is now playing at your local movie theater.

Small Mouth Sounds

T. Charles Erickson

Why does a person go to a silent retreat on mindfulness?

At the beginning of the play, Small Mouth Sounds, we are all reminded of the first of Buddha’s Four Noble Truths: Life is suffering. Our six attendees are trying to deal with that suffering, which may feel overwhelming to them. They are searching for ways to get through their day-to-day lives. I would tell you what those issues are, but that would constitute spoilers.

The idea for Small Mouth Sounds came to writer Bess Wohl when she attended a retreat to spend time with a friend. She had not realized that it was a silent retreat. From there, Small Mouth Sounds was born and eventually played successfully off-Broadway. The play is now on a 7-month cross-country tour. When asked about why the play resonates with audiences, director Rachel Chavkin says, “It’s the humor. Bess’s work is so beautiful, but it’s also rooted in the absolute pain and mortification of being human.” (A.C.T. program book, Season 51, Issue 2, Oct-Dec 2017)

This is a play with a lot humor but not a lot of resolution. At the end, AJ turned to me and said “What?” As long as you take the process in stride and aren’t looking for answers to life’s big questions, it is 100 minutes of fun entertainment and feeling like you are part of an inside joke.

Small Mouth Sounds: Playing at A.C.T. October 11 – December 10, 2017. Tickets available at most ticketing sites, including A.C.T. and Goldstar.

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