The Moderns (1988)
Movie InfoIn the expatriate-littered Paris of the 1920s, painter Nick Hart (Keith Carradine) mingles with Ernest Hemingway (Kevin O'Connor) and other leading lights of the Lost Generation while palling around with gossip columnist Oiseau (Wallace Shawn), whose reportage has helped establish the international reputation of the writers and artists who fled America for France after WWI. Older and less successful than many of his fellow painters, Hart relies on gallery owner Libby Valentin (Genevieve Bujold) to sell what she can of his work while he supports himself drawing cartoons for Oiseau's weekly column. In a café one day, Hart spies Rachel Stone (Linda Fiorentino) on the arm of her husband, Bertram (John Lone), a condom magnate and art patron who's trying to buy his way into society. It seems Hart and Rachel share a romantic past of which Stone is completely unaware. At the salon of writers Gertrude Stein (Elsa Raven) and Alice B. Tolkas (Ali Giron), Hart suffers a nasty run-in with the Stones and meets Nathalie de Ville (Geraldine Chaplin), a rich socialite who wants to steal three paintings from her estranged husband. Nathalie plies Hart with sexual favors and the promise of cash in exchange for his help in forging copies of the paintings. Although he's loath to follow in the footsteps of his father, a gifted forger, Hart acquiesces, and soon his rivalry with Stone and his involvement with the forgeries leads to death, destruction, and scandal in the art world. Bujold, Shawn, Chaplin, and Carradine are all regular collaborators of iconoclastic director Alan Rudolph, who filmed The Moderns in Montréal and would go on to lens the similarly intellectual Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Moderns
A movie that makes an afternoon with Gertrude and Alice more boring than a faculty tea.
It takes place at that enchanted moment in Paris when the Lost Generation created itself and then proceeded to create, promote, fabricate and publicize modern literature, art, music and attitudes.
Everything is ersatz, even the surrealism in Alan Rudolph's 10th movie.
Rudolph's weaknesses pale before the film's overriding textures: Toyomichi Kurita's cinematography exquisitely crosses color with sepia and blacks and whites.
A casually absurd, surprisingly playful look into the lives of American expatriates --Gertrude Stein's famous "lost generation" -- in post-World War I Paris.
Fascinating film about painters in 1920's Paris
Will appeal to fans of Alan Rudolph's distinctive story-telling abilities.
Audience Reviews for The Moderns
This is a fairly enjoyable tale set in the art world of 1920s Paris. The look of the film and the mood it creates are the most important things; far more important than the enjoyable, yet slow-moving plotline.
It is highly imaginative and its representation of icons such as Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein add an extra dimension to the film.
The only true weak points are some of the dialogues between the two leads; it is sometimes out of place and almost too 'modern'!
All the performances are good but John Lone and Keith Carradine are especially suited to their parts.
[font=Century Gothic]"The Moderns" takes place in 1920's Paris where Nick Hart(Keith Carradine) is a starving artist who makes his living drawing cartoons to accompany the columns written by Oiseau(Wallace Shawn) in the Tribune.(Taking the high road, he has declined a commission to forge three Cezanne paintings for a wealthy soon-to-be divorcee, Nathalie(Geraldine Chaplin).) Nick's former lover, Rachel(Linda Fiorentino), is in town, now married to a mysterious businessman, Bertram Stone(John Lone), who is rumored to have killed a man. So, of course, Nick slaps Rachel at the salon of Gertrude Stein(Elsa Raven). Since dueling is now out of fashion, Bertram and Nick instead agree to a boxing match...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Moderns" has an interesting setting and a fine cast but both are wasted in what is little more than a penis-measuring contest between Nick and Bertram. The movie is about the neverending battle between commerce and art but by not making it specifically about creating art, the film misses out on what made Paris in the 1920's special. Keith Carradine's wooden performance only hurts matters.[/font]
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