Waiting for Dafoe (…as Van Gogh)

film v g statue (360x640)


Star power comes to Saint-Rémy!

All last week, a film crew buzzed around Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, the psychiatric hospital where the post-Impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh, lived from 1889 to 1890. Here, American actor Willem Dafoe was filming, “At Eternity’s Gate,” a new flick about the great artist.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, Ralph and I popped by to witness the action. We found a dozen huge, spiffy trailers, a gigantic crane, a mammoth camera and other film equipment but not a single actor.  That changed come Monday.  Well, sort of. Though we had no tête-à-tête with Mr. Dafoe, during the week, we did become best buddies with a make-up guy who enjoyed catching some rays while not transforming actors.

We also chatted with the friendly movie set chef. Each day, Ralph and I would stroll by, and I’d stop to ask the chef what he had planned for the plat du jour. Magret de canard was on tap for Thanksgiving lunch–not that he knew much about the special day for Americans. I felt compelled to fill him in on the basics. Today is the day, I told him, when Americans eat lots of turkey, watch lots of American football, and give lots of thanks. He scrunched up his nose, tilted his head to one side and said, “That’s what Americans do the day before Black Friday?”

Yep, that’s what we do “the day before Black Friday,” aka, Thanksgiving–we eat turkey, watch TV and give thanks. Especially, we give thanks.

film parking lot (640x360)

On location at Saint Paul de Mausole, Vincent van Gogh’s former residence, Saint Rémy de Provence.

film courtyard shot (640x480) (2)

Film equipment is poised for action in the the peaceful interior courtyard at Saint Paul de Mausole.


film garden vg hospital

Van Gogh’s backyard at Saint Paul de Mausole is lavenderless in November, but imagine summer when blossoms will abound.


An actor graciously poses before hitting the lunch tent.

film makeup vanInside a make-up trailor for “At Eternity’s Gate”–maybe where Dafoe became van Gogh.

film kitchen crew

The film crew’s lunch wagon. The week’s plats du jour included porc aux olives, boeuf bourguignon and magret de canard–pas mal!

Au revoir, Vincent, see you soon–in the cinema!

One thought on “Waiting for Dafoe (…as Van Gogh)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s