Vincent van Gogh Through The Movie Luca: A Comparison

Luca is a movie familiar to most of us. Known for its frames and scenes, the movie is filled with the beauty of art. Telling the story of the mysterious death of an artist and his lover, Luca presents the audience with an engaging plot and beautiful cinematography. But like any other artistic work, it becomes even more interesting when one reads between the lines and discovers an entirely different perspective!



The movie begins with Fathima in her home and Akbar driving his bike in the rain. It is then that we see some wall paintings, one of them being the portrait of Vincent van Gogh. A hint at a connection, maybe? So why not see the rest of the movie with a ‘van Gogh filter’?

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The character Luca from the movie is a temperamental artist who leads a secluded life with not so many friends. He also suffers from mental illness and after a series of events, he is found
dead under mysterious circumstances. One can’t help but compare him to the great artist Vincent van Gogh who was also known for his mental illnesses, loneliness and troubled lifestyle, and his equally questionable death.

Luca I PinkLungi

The story of Luca can in fact be taken as an allusion to the story of van Gogh, both of them sharing a similar life path. And not to mention their love for art and coffee! Both of them share similar personality traits as troubled artists in a fight with their own minds.

While Vincent suffered from schizophrenia, Luca struggles with necrophobia. Vincent’s works
are known for their intense colours and strong ideas with social criticism, while Luca is praised for his daring acts of using art to speak against social injustice. Vincent was a spontaneous artist
who wanted to capture a mood or moment that very instant, just like Luca, who would
race to his canvas the minute he sees a potential scene of inspiration.


Vincent van Gogh
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Vincent became a world-famous artist years after his death and people discovered him through his letters. And yes, the same goes for Luca, who becomes known to the audience after his death, through a series of diary entries, though not his.

The deaths of the two Vincent and Luca are both questionable. There have been speculations about van Gogh’s death, whether it was a murder or suicide. Vincent was said to have committed suicide by shooting himself, but a biography published in 2011 talked about a different theory; that he was accidentally shot by a teenage boy. Vincent yet told the world that he did it himself, as he felt that the boy did it to save him from his sufferings. The same intention is shown by Niharika in the movie Luca, which powers her motive to kill him.

Van Gogh 'suicide gun' I PinkLungi

As mentioned earlier, there is indeed a ‘van Gogh filter’ that any art enthusiast would sense in the colour palette of the movie. Luca stood out for its use of colours- blues, browns and yellows,
which would remind one of a typical van Gogh painting like The Starry Night and Sunflowers. This
makes it easier to see the van Gogh in Luca, bringing more depth to this character.

“Art is the eye of the beholder, and everyone will have their own interpretation.” One work of art
can have many meanings and a movie can remind one of many lives and stories. With his intriguing life and puzzling death, Luca the artist can indeed bring out the image of Vincent van Gogh. And van Gogh being the amazing artist he always was, unsurprisingly adds an entirely new feel to the movie!

If you want to know more about Vincent van Gogh, you should check out the 2017 movie Loving Vincent.

So what are your thoughts? Did you notice the similarities?


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