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Movie Review: Modigliani

Alternate Title: Real Art was Harmed During the Making of This Film

Story: What makes a film so very bad that it becomes laughable? Let me count the ways in which this film fills this bill.

1. The story is fictitious, yet uses real characters and confusion abounds. There is even a disclaimer at the beginning of the film attesting to this leap from history.

2. There appears to be no script. Scenes abruptly end and you are suddenly somewhere else.

3. The editing stunk.

4.The star was twenty years too old to play the part.

5. The fake art was awful.

6. The dialogue was eye-rolling.

So what did I like about the film? When it finally ended, we had a good time trashing it over coffee.

Acting: Andy Garcia as Modigliani was over-acting, over-aged and over his head. Elsa Zylbersein (as his lover and muse, Jeanne) looked strikingly like his real portraits.She, alas, has no choice but to overact as well. All of the supporting cast were cartoon characters of their real life personas including, Picasso, Soutine, Utrillo, Cocteau, Gertrude Stein, Diego Rivera and Renoir.

Predilection: I like films about artists (usually)

Critters: A strange variety of animals including a dog, a cat, a gecko and a lion

Food: La Bohemians did more drinking than eating. Gertrude Stein gorged herself on Cream Puffs (they should have been Alice B Toklas brownies).

Soundtrack: Crazy mix of New Age, Hip Hip and Edith Piaf.

Opening Titles: White type over black background.

Visual Art: Bad copies.

Theater Audience: Six stunned patrons.

Squirm Scale: I squirmed at how quickly this film died.

Drift Factor: Lots of drifting indeed.

Predictability Level: I knew how he lived and died so other than the fictitious stuff thee were no surprises.

Oscar Worthy: Pul-leeze!

Soap Box: What bothered me the most was that Amadeo Modigliani lived a tumultuous, violent short life. His true story would have been great material for a film - even better, an opera. So why director, writer Mick Davis chose to invent a tale is beyond me? Modigliani was born in 1884 in Italy. As a Jew, his family was persecuted. He moved to Paris at 21, at the height of anti-semitism in France (during the Dreyfus trial). He quickly fell into a life of drugs and drink. He was influenced by African sculpture and painted elongated figures. He married his Muse and they had one daughter. He died at age 36 and his wife quickly committed suicide (while pregnant with their second child).

Nit Picking: Too many nits to enumerate.

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. They are other better artists' biopics including: Basquiat, Vincent and Theo, Frida and Pollock.

Length: A bit over two hours.