Israeli art house movie fans who have sat in rapt silence through the final credits of Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s masterly animated biographical drama, Loving Vincent, may now look forward to a personal appearance by the man behind the closing song.
It has been reported that US singer-songwriter Don Mclean who penned Starry, Starry Night will perform in concert at the Ra’anana Amphitheatre on Saturday June 16.
Perhaps even better known for his classic, American Pie than his homage to Vincent van Gogh, McLean is said to have a strong affinity with Israel, and wrote the song, Jerusalem in support of the Jewish state.
However the most interesting aspects of van Gogh’s life and work for Israelis and international Jewish audiences are those not covered by the film.
How many readers know that a descendent of the first Berlin art dealer to sell the artist’s work lives in Moshav Nahalal in the Galilee’s Jezreel Valley?
Further, I was wholly unaware before researching for this piece that the painter had any direct contact with Jews and I’ve been intrigued to discover that he “often bought prints from the Jewish dealer Jozef Blok (1832–1905) and called him – as well as his brother David – “Blok the book Jew(s)”!
As these lines are but a brief note about the film and its background, rather than a critique, I will close with McLean’s lush lyrics.
Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land. Now I understand what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen
they did not know how
© Natalie Wood (14 March 2018’