Vincent Van Gogh died on the 29th of July 1890 in a small village in Northern France. The cause of death is reported to be a bullet wound to his stomach, and to this day it is uncertain whether it was an attempted suicide or if someone had shot him. In his final years, Van Gogh was also suffering from deteriorating mental health. With his talent largely unrecognized and his work not receiving its due recognition, Van Gogh died a heartbroken man. ‘Death offers Life’ recreates the last five minutes of the life of Vincent Van Gogh in just as much time, as a singular conversation between Van Gogh and his angel of death. Death offers Van Gogh a choice that could greatly improve the circumstances of his next life. But, though disillusioned with the undue treatment fate has meted out to him in this life, Van Gogh chooses to leave behind his legacy, hopeful that his work will be recognized and enjoyed by future generations and celebrated for ages.
‘Death Offers Life’, is an experimental short from Director Saheer Abbas. The director manages to keep the narrative simple and the conversation between the two engaging. The Production design, supported by intelligent camera work leads us to believe that we are sitting by the death bed of Vincent Van Gogh, witnessing this singular conversation that could change the history of art as we know it.
So, did Van Gogh make the right choice or did he fritter away his chances for a better life with the decision he makes? Did he believe that he had done his best or was there a chance that he could have even excelled himself, under different circumstances? What is dearer for an artist, recognition in this lifetime or the desire to leave behind a legacy that will stay behind for ages? And, does death offer life for his legacy?