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  Modigliani
Year: 2004
Director: Mick Davis
Stars: Andy Garcia, Elza Zylberstein, Omid Djalili, Hippolyte Girardot, Eva Herzigova, Udo Kier, Susie Amy, Peter Capaldi, Louis Hilyer
Genre: Drama, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Modigliani, written and directed by Mick Davis, and starring Andy Garcia in the title role, is beautifully shot, beautifully acted and altogether a treat for boho biopic fans – wherein I suspect lies the film’s downfall. The story follows the doomed Jewish-Italian painter’s life in Paris; his career, his rivalry with Picasso and his romance with Jeanne, a young Catholic girl from a family of bourgois zealots.

The subject matter – sex and drugs and paintin’ nudes – provokes strong reactions, and even the rain-spattered tragic ending is not enough to assuage the mealy-mouthed American morality brigade who have thoroughly mauled the film – criticising everything about it from the subject matter to the casting. Others have been enthusiastic, praising the acting, cinematography, script, music et al. Still, there appear to be no plans for a theatrical release in the UK, and Modigliani looks set to go straight to DVD.

Do not let this put you off, though. For lovers of romantic, bohemian life in '20s Montmartre, this is an absolute treat. Andy Garcia in the title role whoops it up royally, starving in his garrett, doing drugs, knocking back absinthe, seducing everyone in his path, and splashing the paint about with verve and gay abandon. His seductive charm and dark good looks make Elza Zylberstein’s job of portraying his muse and mistress, Jeanne Hebuterne, absolutely easy – although it has to be said she also turns in a beautiful performance, her large brown eyes glistening with sex, childbirth and betrayal as she throws her bourgeois upbringing to the dogs in order to pursue her passion into the gutter, scrubbing that dirty lavatory with seemingly real determination.

The film is beautiful; far more appealing than the over-scrubbed and monosyllabic Girl with a Pearl Earring; sexier than Carrington or De-Lovely, more romantic than Frida and as an added extra for art ignoramuses, the film educates as well as entertains. So much so that, in spite of being a deeply cynical and frivolous movie-watcher, by the end of the film I was moved to tears, and judging by the amount of fierce nose-blowing in the cinema, so were vast swathes of others.

What more could you want?
Reviewer: Samantha David

 

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