The cliche of the starving artist takes on new dimensions in China’s Van Goghs, a documentary film by father-and-daughter co-directors Haibo Yu and Kiki Tianqi Yu, which takes viewers into the studios of Dafen, the so-called oil painting village in the city of Shenzen, China.

There, men and women dedicate themselves to the single-minded reproduction of famous paintings from the canon of Western art history, most notably Vincent van Gogh. After spending countless hours producing tens of thousands of Van Gogh copies, the painters of Dafen have, understandably, developed an emotional investment in the Dutch artist.

“I was sweating and could not sleep anymore,” says Zhao Xiaoyong, describing a dream in which he met the legendary Impressionist. “Van Gogh was all over my mind.” Read more