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Les Compagnons de la Chanson
Biographic movie about the last year of the famous Italian painter Modigliani. Modigliani, a poor painter in Paris of 1919, falls in love with a daughter from a wealthy family. Her parents are against their relation and stop financial help. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Every generation sees or thinks it sees things differently from previous generations; this film shows yet again that bohemian boorishness and temperamental talent is and was nothing new. If you're seen to be an Artist also being a fascinating penniless perpetual drunk yob can be acceptable, that troubled spirit is sometimes the price of Genius. Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian artist who died at 36 of TB in France, the almost impossibly handsome Gerard Philipe who played him here died the year after the film also at 36 of cancer, and director Max Ophuls died before production started it makes this French-Italian co-production especially poignant.
The story follows the last period of Modigliani's life about 1919, after he met and fell madly in love with fellow artist Jeanne Hebuterne, their trials, tribulations and tragedy. It's all done very well, definitely not as the elegant Ophuls would have done it (witness those clumsy tracking dancing scenes) with good black and white photography and great acting: basically no problems with any of it. However the end of the film was very different to the reality and bearing in mind it was fairly frank anyway I can't understand why the truth was jettisoned at the climax. Did Modigliani's daughter object? What actually happened was incredibly sad, brutal and even incomprehensible but still would have made more sense than the end to the film did. It turned a study in romance into a lesson in sordidness.
But never mind, it was still an interesting journey into an Artist's troubled mind and life and the joy and pain he brought to those around him. I wouldn't hang one of Modigliani's hideous paintings up in my house unless I was paid a lot to; I prefer the film because Beauty is either in the eye of the beholder or the owner.
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