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Modigliani

Dramatized biography of painter Amedeo Modigliani, who competes with his rival Picasso in an art contest, hoping to raise the money to free his child from a convent.

Genre - Drama

Director(s) - Mick Davis

Writer(s) - Mick Davis

Cast - Andy Garcia, Elsa Zylberstein, German star Udo Kier and Omid Djalili

Blue Rider's Role - Bridge financier

Distributor(s) - MGM, Bauer Martinez Studios, many territorial distributors

Release Date - 2004

Synopsis - Set in Paris in 1919, biopic centers on the life of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, focusing on his last days and his rivalry with Pablo Picasso. Modigliani, a Jew, has fallen in love with Jeanne, a young and beautiful Catholic girl. The couple has an illegitimate child, and Jeanne's bigoted parents send the baby to a distant convent to be raised by nuns. Modigliani is distraught and needs money to rescue and raise his child. The answer arrives in the shape of Paris' annual art competition. Prize money and a guaranteed career await the winner. Neither Modigliani, nor his dearest friend and rival Picasso has ever entered the competition, believing that it is beneath true artists like themselves. But Modigliani signs up for the competition in a drunken and drug-induced tirade. Picasso follows suit and all of Paris is aflutter with excitement at who will win. With the balance of his relationship with Jeanne on the line, Modigliani tackles this work with the hopes of creating a masterpiece, and knows that all the artists of Paris are doing the same.

Awards and Festival Screenings for Modigliani
Modigliani was nominated for two International Press Academy Golden Satellite Awards: to Pam Downe for Costume Design and Luigi Marchione and Vlad Vieru for Art Direction and Production Design.

It was an official Gala Selection at the Toronto Film Festival, opened the Miami International Film Festival and also played at the Bergen (Norway) International Film Festival, the Washington Jewish Film Festival, The Capri (Italy) Hollywood Film Festival, The Bangkok International Film Festival, The Mexico City International Film Festival, Spain's Mostra de Valencia Cinema del Mediterranean , Italy’s Festival Due Mondi, California's San Jose Jewish Film Festival and Sonoma Film Festival.

Boxoffice and Rental Revenues:
Modigliani had a worldwide theatrical gross of $1,466,013: bringing in $1,260,848 in eight markets and doing $205,165 in the U.S. during 14 weeks in 2005, during which it only screened in 2-9 theatres. The top market for Modigliani was Italy, where it brought in $1,009,517 (69% of the global total).

Viewers' Ratings:
As of February 26, 2009, more than 85.8% of 2,370 users of the Internet Movie Database gave Modigliani a positive rating, with 25.2% rating it a perfect 10 and the average rating being 7.6. All demographic groups rated it positively, but the most enthusiastic were people 17 and younger (who rated it 8.2 out of 10), women 18-29 (7.8) and women 45 and older (7.1). Non-Americans liked it better than U.S. residents did.

Critics’ Kudos:
Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter: “A lively movie full of parties, overwrought emotions and mad passion. The film stars Andy Garcia as Amedeo Modigliani, the Jewish-Italian artist who helped turn early 20th century art into one of the most dynamic and expressive periods in art history. Only the film, written and directed by Scottish filmmaker Mick Davis, views its subject as a tempermental drunk, dancing on table tops at La Rotonde cafe and indulging in a childish rivalry with Pablo Picasso (burly Omid Djalili).

“Garcia's Modigliani -- ‘Just call me Modi’ -- certainly has an all-star supporting ‘cast’ for his supporting players. Davis situates his story in Paris in 1919, the penultimate year of Modi's life, where along with the sullen and haughty Picasso, he cavorts at his favorite cafe with Diego Rivera, Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Maurice Utrillo, Frida Kahlo and Max Jacob.

“His childhood TB, aggravated by a regimen of booze, opium and cigarettes, is swiftly killing him. His mistress Jeanne (hauntingly beautiful Elsa Zylberstein), a nice Catholic girl whose well-to-do father is outraged by her liaison with a Jew, has already borne him one child and another soon will be on the way. Both Modi and Jeanne are genuinely tragic figures.

“Like all artists in movies, Modi refuses to sell his canvases to those who do not really appreciate his art, cheats on his mistress, ignores his doctor's health warnings and provokes just about everyone he meets. His greatest animosity is reserved for Picasso, whom he taunts and threatens often enough for Picasso to reach for his gun. (For a bunch of artists, this crowd packs some serious heat.)

“Garcia has his moments as a wild man [and] Zyberstein overcomes the cliches about an obsessed, doom mistress to evoke empathy for this delicate moth driven ever closer to the flame. Israeli cinematographer Emmanuel Kadosh takes advantage of these characters and settings to unveil scene after scene of rare cinematic beauty. He creates sharp contrasts between the whites and blacks, creating tableaus almost like early tintypes. He bathes dreamlike sequences in color tints that capture the sensuality of those long ago days. This not quite real world gives a helpful intimacy and immediacy to the hazy dramatic action.”

Lisa Nesselson, Variety: “Some of the enormous drama inherent in the life of sculptor and painter Modigliani is captured in Mick Davis' film of the same name that concentrates on the final year of the artist's life in Paris.

“One of pic's most arresting scenes is a flashback set in Modigliani's hometown of Livorno, Italy, when he was a boy. As government officials try to confiscate the family's belongings for back taxes, the clan invokes an ancient custom proclaiming any possessions on a pregnant woman's bed may not be seized: The young Amedeo's mother is in labor with furniture and chandeliers piled up on her mattress. Another memorable scene has Picasso -- the proud owner of a flashy motorcar -- drive his artistic rival to the country to meet 'God": the elderly Auguste Renoir.

“Romania fills in reasonably well for Montparnasse. Hippolyte Girardot is touching as Modi's close pal Utrillo, who lands in a genuinely creepy loony bin. As the oval-faced, swan-necked Jeanne of countless portraits, Zylberstein -- who has thesped up a storm in the past year and is rarely absent from Paris hardtops -- is as crafty a physical fit as Shelly Duvall was as Olive Oyl.”

Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly: “Andy Garcia immerses himself in ''Modi,'' luxuriating in his rumpled vanity and clownish self-loathing, his bourgeois drive for financial success vying with his proud, penniless bohemianism. Beneath it all, Garcia locates a crushing insecurity, escaping in surges of exhibitionistic alcoholism and self-destructive histrionics

“Modigliani pinballs between what the filmmakers consider the twin foci of their subject's career: his rivalry with Picasso (Omid Djalili, presenting Pablo as an appealing, if cartoonish, cross between a pasha and the fat kid picked last for sports) and his love affair with the last and greatest of his paramours, Jeanne Hebuterne (Elsa Zylberstein, who, with her large, capsizing eyes and elongated features, was a casting choice so eerily apt she's essentially a special effect).”

Major Cast and Crew Credits and Awards:
Directed by Mick Davis (The Match).

Written by Mick Davis (Wake of Death, The Match, The Flying Dutchman and Love in Paris).

Stars Andy Garcia (The Untouchables, Confidence, Dangerous Minds, Dead Again, Black Rain, Internal Affairs, The Man From Elysian Fields, Stand and Deliver; Oscar nom for The Godfather: Part III; won 12 major awards and 12 other nominations for works including Ocean's Eleven, For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, When a Man Loves a Woman, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca and Ocean's Twelve); French star Elsa Zylberstein (Farinelli, Jefferson in Paris, Metroland, Lautrec; won three major French awards and gained three more nominations for films including Van Gogh, Mina Tannenbaum and Beau Fixe); German star Udo Kier (End of Days, Armageddon, Blade, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dogville, End of Days, Breaking the Waves, Johnny Mnemonic, My Own Private Idaho and 173 other films and TV works) and London-born Iranian actor-comic Omid Djalili (Gladiator, The Mummy, Notting Hill, The World is Not Enough, Spy Game, Casanova, Alien Autopsy).

Cast includes Czech-born international supermodel (worth more than $12 million in 1998, at age 25) and sex goddess Eva Herzigova (Friend of the Heart, The Guardian Angels, Inferno, The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit '97 a nd '99; won 2002 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival Best Actress Award for Just For the Time Being); French actor Hippolyte Girardot (Manon of the Springs, Jump Tomorrow, The Man Inside, First Name Carmen, House of 9, Lady Chatterly; French Cesar Award nominations for Le Bon Plaisir, Un Monde Sans Pitié and Hors la Vie); Scotland’s Peter Capaldi (Bean, Dangerous Liaisons, Local Hero, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Turtle Diary, Max, Shooting Fish, Lair of the White Worm, House of 9, The Crow Road; won Oscar and other awards for Best Live Action Short for Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life; won BAFTA Scotland Best Actor Award for Soft Top Hard Shoulder; nominated for BAFTA Best Comedy Performance for The Thick of It); England's Miriam Margolyes (Magnolia, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rome + Juliet, End of Days, Babe, Mulan, Happy Feet, Little Shop of Horrors, Cats & Dogs, Dead Again, Immortal Beloved; won BAFTA Best Supporting Actress Award for The Age of Innocence); Britain's Jim Carter (Top Secret, The Madness of King George, Ella Enchanted, Flash Gordon, Brassed Off, The Company of Wolves, House of 9, The Thief Lord; won SAG Award for Shakespeare in Love); Susie Amy (Dead Fish, House of 9, La Femme Musketeer) and Lance Henriksen (The Terminator, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dog Day Afternoon, Scream 3, Network, The Right Stuff, Prince of the City, Jagged Edge;won three major awards and nine nominations for works including Millennium, Hard Target, Pumpkinhead, Aliens, Abominable and The Pit and the Pendulum).

Executive Producers: Marcos Zurinaga (Tango Bar, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca, La Gran Fiesta); Karinne Behr (Wake of Death, I Could Never Be Your Woman, The Flock, Irish Jam, Land of the Blind); Antony Blakey (The Piano Player, Wake of Death, Nouvelle-France, My First Wedding); Donald A. Barton (Back in the Day, Karla, Citizen Verdict, Eye of the Dolphin); Paul Fleetum (Wake of Death); Andy Garcia (The Man From Elysian Fields, The Lost City, The Unsaid, Just the Ticket, For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story); Steve Marsden (debut) and Gary Ungar (Gothika, Babylon A.D.).

Producers: Philippe Martinez (The Groomsmen, the Flock, I Could Never Be Your Woman, Dot.Kill, House of 9, Wake of Death, Land of the Blind, Texas 46); Stéphanie Martinez (Wake of Death, Citizen Verdict) and André Djaoui (The Burning, Lady Chatterly's Lover, O Jerusalem, Siegried & Roy: Masters of the Impossible, Money).

Original Music by Guy Farley (Cashback, Knife Edge, Darkness Falls, White Bits, Wake of Death).

Cinematography by Manu Kadosh (The Lost City, Wake of Death, Land of the Blind, Back to the Promised Land).

Film Editing by Emma E. Hickox (Blood and Chocolate, Kinky Boots, The Jacket, A Walk to Remember, Blue Crush, Honey, The Breed).

Production Design by Giantito Burchiellaro (Juliet of the Spirits, Harrison's Flowers, The Monster; won Italian National Sydicate of Film Journalists Best Production Design Award for Sostiene Pereira).

Art Direction by Luigi Marchione (The Comfort of Strangers, Where Angels Fear to Tread, Dancers; won four major Italian awards and another nomination for Italian movies; nominated for Best Art Direction and Production Design Satellite Award for Modigliani) and Vlad Vieru (Blood and Chocolate, Wind in the Willows, BloodRayne, Incubus; nominated for Satellite Award for Modigliani).

Costume Design by Pam Downe (Hollow Reed, The Match, Silent Cry; nominated for Best Costume Design Satellite Award for Modigliani).

Special Effects Supervisor: Mihai Reti (Captaine Conan, Dark Asylum, Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj).

Visual Effects Supervisor: Frank Wegerhoff (The Patriot, Enemy at the Gates, FeardotCom, 2001: A Space Travesty, Comedian Harmonists, The Frighteners, Dot.Kill).

Release Data:
Modigliani made its French theatrical debut on May 18, 2004, opening that same year in theatres in Russia, Belgium and Ukraine, as well as launching on video in Israel. In 2005, it opened in Dutch, Italian, Romanian, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian theatres--and on DVD in Thailand, Hong Kong, Brazil, Canada and Finland. In 2006 it opened in theatres in Poland, Portugal and Spain; on Argentine TV; and on DVD in Australia, The Czech Republic and New Zealand. In January 2007 it opened on Hungarian and Puerto Rican TV. And in 2008 it debuted on DVD in Germany and Austria.

Producer Quote:
Philippe Martinez: "Modigliani was a beautiful film. Its acting, story and visuals were all amazing. It did some business, but because it was a period piece--set in '20s Paris--it didn't do big boxoffice.

"Andy Garcia was amazing in the lead. Probably my best experience in the film business was working with him on this movie.

"Blue Rider was very helpful in getting the film completed."











Links:
Internet Movie Database entry for Modigliani

Links to five Modigliani trailers (French, English, Quicktime, Flash and Real Player)

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