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Modigliani
Modigliani
Actors: Andy Garcia, Elsa Zylberstein, Omid Djalili, Hippolyte Girardot, Eva Herzigova
Director: Mick Davis
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Educational
R     2005     2hr 8min

Andy Garcia stars as the painter Modigliani, an Italian Jew, has fallen in love with Jeanne, a beautiful Catholic girl. The couple has an illegitimate child, and Jeanne's bigoted parents send the baby to a faraway convent ...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Andy Garcia, Elsa Zylberstein, Omid Djalili, Hippolyte Girardot, Eva Herzigova
Director: Mick Davis
Creators: Andy Garcia, Mick Davis, Alan Latham, Andrei Boncea, André Djaoui, Antonio Guadalupi, Antony Blakey
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Educational
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Educational
Studio: Umvd/Visual Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 09/27/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 8min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Elizabeth D. from FAIRPORT, NY
Reviewed on 11/14/2010...
While this is a fictional account of Modigliani's life the story was well crafted and the acting top notch. The movie held my interest from start to finish. A very fine film. I give it a 4 star review..

Movie Reviews

Portrait of an Artist as a Dying Man
Robert M. Penna | Albany, NY | 12/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Modigliani," a 2004 offering starring Andy Garcia, is one of those historical/biographical films that so invests the viewer with a sympathy for and interest in the central character, that it is a sad disappointment to learn that most of what one sees on the screen is untrue.

True, a disclaimer in the beginning warns the viewer that this is a work of fiction, but as with so many Oliver Stone "docudramas," there are no clear indications where history ends and fiction begins. In real life, Amedeo Modigliani was a painter and a sculptor. He bounced between France and his native Italy as his ever deteriorating health dictated, the deterioration caused by a life long tubercular condition, fueled by booze, drugs and (if the film is to be believed) chain smoking. He had a very public affair with a well known bisexual writer, but later became smitten with a local Parisian girl, with whom he took up and lived out the remainder of his short life. Yes, Modigliani struggled for most of his life. Yes, he lived in the same post-WW I Paris as did Picaso. Yes, he died young, at 35. And yes, Jeanne, the love of his life, did take her own life, and that of their unborn second child, upon his death. But the Modigliani we meet in the film is not this man.

Perhaps the reason for this was screenwriter Mick Davis' need to collapse an entire life into a film lasting only 127 minutes. Perhaps Mr. Davis just used the historical highpoints as the inner structure for the story he wanted to tell. Or perhaps he just could not resist the familiar and by now trite tale of the doomed artist achieving his greatest triumph just as his wretched excesses finally overtake him.

The resulting film, in spite of the title character being masterfully played by Andy Garcia, is predictable even to those who have never heard of Modigliani or ever seen his work. Certain central characters -Jeanne's virulently anti-Semitic father, is a prime illustration- and the parts they play in the film could have easily been excluded in favor of greater exploration of the historical Modigliani. His development as an artist, by way of example, is completely ignored. The viewer, therefore, is never quite sure whether the sympathy the film builds for the title character is warranted or not. Until the end, the film begs the question of whether Modigliani was any good as an artist...or not.

These things said, the film does have much to recommend it. Beyond Garcia's performance, the decadent excess of post-WW I Europe has not been so well captured since "Cabaret." The score is both bold and enticing. The fevered scenes leading up to the film's final moments truly capture the creative frenzy that great artists experience as genius takes over from rote. And the film does succeed in making the viewer believe that he or she is actually seeing this pivotal point in Western art very much as it must have been.

Still, it is saddening to realize when the film ends and the lights come on that what one has viewed was more Hollywood than history. When Disney's "Pocahontas" was screened for a huge outdoor crowd in New York's Central Park, one reviewer wrote that she had to point out to a friend who was totally taken with the film, that the Disney version of the story was glaringly historically inaccurate. Faced with the fact that actually history was much different than what the film depicted, the friend made a choice. Referring to the film, she reportedly said, "Well, I like THIS version better." So it may be with Modigliani. It may not be accurate, but viewers may like the film much more than they would the actual facts of the man's life.
"
"That's How Everyone Sees Modigliani" ~ When Art And Biogra
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 11/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Those involved in the making of the film `Modigliani' should be exceedingly proud of this amazingly beautiful and poignant tribute to Modigliani the artist, for truly art and biography have never been so magically blended as accomplished here. I was spellbound from the opening scene of Jeanne Hebuterne's (Elsa Zylberstein) enchanting face staring into the camera to the ending with Amedeo Modigliani (Andy Garcia) dancing around the statue of Balzac on a snowy winters night. Like a poem, it ends and you are left filled with emotion and lost in profundity. `Modigliani' is truly a masterpiece in every sense of the word.

This is a film that belongs in any serious DVD collection. Purchase the CD too, the music is magnificent. My Highest Recommendation!"
Witnessing the Bohemian Life of Paris, 1919: Artists Awry
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/06/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"MODIGLIANI is a difficult movie to review. It has some very strong features such as the cinematography that captures the artsy feeling of Paris 1919 and, despite excesses, manages to create some visuals of hallucinations and the wild madness of painters painting canvasses; a rather complex peak into the lives of several of the more revolutionary artists of the time; and a substantial feeling for the interchange between artist and model. The main problem with the film is a script that is banal, limited in historical validity, and concentrating on a single rather silly motif of a painters' competition.

Amedeo Modigliani (1884 - 1920) was a Sephardic Jew from Italy who moved to the mecca of Paris to create his brilliant portraits and sculptures of nudes and extended neck women and girls. His genius lay in his unifying the spiritual Eastern iconography (tribal art and Judaism) of his heritage with the Christian (read Catholic) traditions of the artists with whom he associated which resulted in his creations of the female nude from a feminist cultural perspective. What this film delivers is a rather annoying portrait of a young consumptive artist who drank and drugged himself to death at a moment in his career when renown was just beginning. The reasons for his place in art history are merely hinted all for the sake of the Hollywood biopic.

Andy Garcia plays Modigliani with a modicum of élan and a plethora of bad traits. The lovely model Jeanne Hébuterne (Elsa Zylberstein) who was the subject not only of his portraits but the mother of his illegitimate child and his live-in paramour is a bit long in the tooth on suffering, though despite the fact that Zylberstien is hampered by both a weak script and limited acting, she does have an uncanny resemblance to Jeanne. The artists with whom 'Modi' works include a strangely miscast Picasso (Omid Djalili), Chaim Soutine (Stevan Rimkus), Maurice Utrillo (Hippolyte Girardot), Diego Rivera (Dan Astileanu), Zborowski (Louis Hilyer), and the strangely non-effeminate Jean Cocteau (Peter Capaldi)! Dealer Max Jacob (Udo Kier) and Gertrude Stein (Miriam Margolyes!) are thrown in with the harlequins and 'Modi's' child spirit Dedo (Frederico Ambrosino) for atmosphere. The storyline is one that could have easily been told in the requisite time frame but MODIGLIANI taxes the viewers' attention for over two hours.

So aside from a visually exciting experience there is really very little to be learned from this liquor and opium soaked consumptive noisy melodrama that could have been about any one of the artists involved in the story. The genius of Modigliani is barely tapped. Grady Harp, October 05
"