The first conceptual trailer has been released for an upcoming animated film by Oscar-winning Polish production company BreakThru Films. Like their last production, Loving Vincent, which was also nominated for an academic award, the new work is painted entirely by hand.
The film, Chłopi (The Peasants), is based on the novel of the same name by Polish Nobel Prize-winning author Władysław Reymont, with its artwork and music inspired by the contemporary culture of early twentieth-century Poland.
Like Loving Vincent, the new film is directed by Dorota Kobiela, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Hugh Welchman, the British founder of Sopot-based BreakThru Films.
BreakThru’s previous productions have won international praise and Oscar nominations. Its stop-motion animation Peter and the Wolf, filmed in the Polish city of Łódź, won the 2008 Academic Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Further acclaim, and commercial success, followed with 2017’s Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully painted animated feature film, which depicted the circumstances around the death of Vincent van Gogh.
Its 65,000 frames, originally featuring real-life actors, were transformed into oil paintings – inspired by van Gogh’s technique – by a team of over 100 artists. Creating three seconds of film took the painters a month of work, reports Gazeta.pl
10 years, 100 painters, 65,000 paintings. Watch the full trailer for #LovingVincent: The Impossible Dream and follow the journey of the Academy-Award winning sensation from @GoodDeedEnt. pic.twitter.com/E0737rgFbr
— Loving Vincent (@LovingVincent) March 12, 2019
Loving Vincent won Best Animated Feature Film at the European Film Awards in Berlin and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, where it lost out to Pixar’s Coco.
The film – which was part financed by the Polish Film Institute and raised further funding through a Kickstarter campaign – was also a success at the box office, grossing over $42 million, almost eight times its $5.5 million budget.
The new film, Chłopi, will be created using the same artistic technique. Initially shot over 36 days with a group of actors, each of its 72,000 frames will then be manually rendered in oil paint by a team of over 50 artists based in Sopot, a city on Poland’s northern Baltic coast, as well as in Serbia and Ukraine.
This time, the paintings will reflect the traditions of the Young Poland (Młoda Polska) period of art, music and literature from the turn of the twentieth century. Its music, composed by award-winning musician L.U.C. (the alias of Łukasz Rostkowski), will also be inspired by Polish folk traditions.
Those themes are in keeping with the film’s subject matter, the work of Reymont, a leading figure during the cultural flourishing of the Young Poland period.
His four part novel The Peasants – written and published in stages between 1904 and 1909 – depicts the rural lifestyle and social conventions of a small Polish peasant community, with each instalment representing a different season of the year. It is considered an important work of naturalism, a literary movement associated with Émile Zola.
The novel has since been translated into 27 languages, including the English versions that appeared in 1924-5. It was cited by Per Hallström, the chairman of the Nobel Committee, when awarding Reymont his Nobel Prize in 1924.
The film’s co-writer, Welchman, describes the book as “one of a kind”. Whereas much nineteenth-century literature focuses on “the middle class, the aristocracy and kings”, The Peasants “is one of the few about a workers’ environment”, he says, quoted by Gazeta.pl
The director, Kobiela, has also highlighted the important role of women in the novel, with the tragic character of Jagna at the heart of the plot.
“After years of working on a film about Vincent van Gogh, I felt a strong urge to talk about women: their struggles, passion and strength,” she told Gazeta.pl
Production on the film officially began in April, and is supported by a grant of 4 million zloty from the Polish Film Institute. Chłopi is scheduled for release in 2022.
Main image credit: Chłopi/screenshot