RCB Film Club: Van Gogh & Japan

3 and 17 April 2021

Running Time: 90 minutes
Subtitle: English
Van Gogh & Japan journeys from the critically acclaimed exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, to the beauty of Provence, and the enigma of Japan.
As the Edo period came to an end in 1868 and Japan opened up to the West, Paris became awash with all things Japanese in the form of decorative objects and colourful woodcut prints called ‘ukiyo-e’. Whilst Van Gogh had no desire to visit Japan, he became fascinated with elements of their visual culture and how they could be adapted in his own pursuit of a new way of seeing.
Van Gogh read descriptions of Japan and studied Japanese works carefully, learning from their bold and contrasting use of colour, their compositional fluidity of line and their unusual croppings of natural forms. He also acquired a large quantity of Japanese prints which he tried to sell without success, although they did povide a great source of inspiration.
In 1888, Paris became too much for Vincent and he left for the south of France, in the pursuit of new subject matter and a healthier life. In Provence, he discovered a beautiful landscape, powerful light and exotic people which spoke to his idealised vision of Japan – his Japanese dream. The productive yet troubled years that followed produced some of the most unique and iconic works in Van Gogh’s oeuvre such as The Sunflowers and his series of iconic portraits.
Featuring Van Gogh’s personal letters and written accounts by friends and contemporaries, this extraordinary and moving film reveals the fascinating story of Van Gogh’s little-known deep connection to Japanese art, despite never travelling to Japan himself, and the role it has in understanding his most iconic works.
The film provides insight from contemporary artists, including calligrapher Tomoko Kawao and performance artist Tatsumi Orimoto, revealing modern perspectives on the rich, symbiotic relationship between Van Gogh and Japan.
David Bickerstaff, Director of the film, commented: “The brilliant thing about working on a film about Van Gogh is the richness of insight one can gain from his letters and just looking closely at his artworks. You think you know them – they are famous, but with every viewing they reveal something new. The intensity of his fragile mind as he struggles with his art is laid bare with every mark he makes.”
Dates: Saturday 3, 17 April 2021 at 2 p.m.
Venue: RCB Forum, 2nd floor, River City Bangkok
150 THB Ticket available at
Present ‘Van Gogh & Japan’ tickets to ANTDAY to receive 10% discounts for drinks.
* Since your safety is our prior concern, River City Bangkok is open as usual with strict preventive measures against the Covid-19 and limitation of visitors inside all exhibitions.
Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday and public holidays 10a.m. – 8 p.m.
The preventive measure limits only 70 visitors in RCB Forum.