This story provides an accurate depiction of the unique and controversial life of the
famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh. The script shows early on that Vincent Van Gogh went
against the status quo in various ways. He was unapologetically homosexual. In that
particular time period, it was seen as taboo for a man to engage in sexual relations with
another man. Doing so led to ridicule and shame from the community and society at
large. Vincent’s relationship with Paul is interesting as well because it originated from
Paul’s need for representation. The fact that he was willing to sleep with Vincent in
exchange for representation speaks volumes.
The script also touches on the concept of mental health, which is something that was
unheard of in these times. An example of this is on page 7 when the Bar Patron falls into
Paul at the table. Vincent’s reaction is to confront the man and he also resorts to violence
instead of holding his composure. On page 8, Paul lets Vincent know that his behavior is
“crazy” and irrational. Vincent states, “Don’t you ever call me crazy again!” This exchange
between Paul and Vincent shows how there is a toxic dynamic between the two of them.
Vincent’s flaws are also revealed because he is unable to control his temper.
LGBT Toronto Film Festival
For art-lovers, historians, and fans of period pictures, “Unspoken Brotherhood” should be regarded as an informative and detailed biographical look at two of the world’s greatest artists, one of whom descended into self-mutilating madness and death. The freakish self-mutilation that Vincent Van Gogh performed on himself is such a legendary event that it tends to overshadow the greatness of his artistic work. This would likely resemble his own opinion since he considered himself such a failure and only became famous after he killed himself. Therefore, it is enlightening and highly entertaining to gain a perspective of Vincent’s life, which appears to have drastically changed the moment he met Paul Gaugin.
The pacing of language, events, and physical movement is very well-balanced and comfortable. Like eye-pleasing artwork or lyrical poetry, there is a steady flow of different emotions and moods that are engaged. For instance, the mood becomes tense in the Café when Vincent feels the need to protect Paul from the drunken patron. It becomes even more stressfull when Paul casually insinuates upon Vincent’s madness. But it isn’t long before they both invoke euphoria and romanticism to lighten the mood. And it isn’t long again before Vincent mentions the voices inside his head. This gives the audience an entertaining viewpoint on what it must have been like to personally know an artistic genius. Vincent’s character, sexuality, and manner of communication is off-kilter from the traditional civilian. Early in Act I, the audience fully understands that his mental state is deteriorating. And because of popular historical legends, we all know how badly this ends.
As a character study, it is fascinating to witness the self-loathing madness and despair that led to Vincent Van Gogh’s suicide. While Paul Gaugin inspires his creative artistry and societal mirth, Theo represents the homophobic culture and disapproval of Vincent’s interests and ideals. His brother’s character is increasingly important in that he allows the audience to witness Vincent’s inner-conflict with himself and the rest of society. By comparing Theo’s “normal” behavior to that of his brother’s, it can be easily seen that Vincent is dangerously paranoid and distraught.
But the aspect that will probably impress producers the most is the ultimate speed it takes the reader to finish this story. This is due mostly to the fact that the narrative paragraphs are not overwritten with meaningless details that belong to the director and production designer anyway. Scene descriptions such as, “Paul makes love to Madeline Bernard” are wisely concise because there is little else that the reader needs to know about the sequence. Producers hate it when screenwriters submit bloviated novels adapted as screenplays.
Short and Feature Screenplay Festival Contest
The story is original, entertaining and unique. This historical fiction/drama feature is based on real events. The story includes a compelling cast whose lives intertwine when two talented male Parisian painters begin a sexual relationship, but one is using the other to improve his career while the other suffers from mental illness.
PREMISE – Vincent and Paul tells the story of Vincent Van Gogh and his lover Paul Gauguin. The screenplay’s concept certainly has potential thanks to the conflict and drama inherent in their relationship.
VINCENT / PAUL RELATIONSHIP – The highlight of the screenplay is the relationship between Vincent and Paul. The screenplay does a terrific job observing their tumultuous relationship. Vincent comes across as erratic and emotionally unstable. There is passion and love in his relationship with Paul however there is also a great deal of conflict and frustration.
THEO – Another memorable character is Vincent’s brother, Theo. Theo attempts to help Vincent find stability in his life. Theo comes across as a normal and responsible individual. He is very much the opposite of Vincent and the two brothers play well off of one another.
SETTING / TIME PERIOD – The screenplay also does a good job dropping the reader into the setting. The story is set in Paris in the late 19th century. The screenplay has the potential for some great visual sequences thanks to this setting.
ACTION DESCRIPTION – Part of the reason for the effective atmosphere is the action description. The action description is written clearly and concisely. It is easy to imagine how the action description will translate to the screen.
Here we have a unique and playfully sexual piece of historical fanfiction about one of the most significant artistic relationships in modern history. While it’s unclear whether Gauguin and Van Gogh actually had a sexual relationship, here you bring that story to life in vivid detail – providing satisfying sensual scenes of passion between these two characters. The ways you tweak history– by suggesting that Gauguin was actually the one who cut off Van Gogh’s ear and that Vincent was less insane than history has to lead us to believe– are deeply clever and narratively satisfying. Your premise is so fun, and your execution is fast-paced, deliriously perverse and a joy to read.