The Moderns | Chicago Reader

The Moderns

Set in Paris in 1926 among American expatriates, this Alan Rudoph feature (1988) isn't everything one might hope for; Rudolph had wanted to film his and Jon Bradshaw's script since the mid-70s, and it probably stewed in his consciousness too long. But for the first hour it's very nearly as good as Choose Me and Remember My Name, and even when it isn't working it remains fascinating. Set in a claustrophobic world of cafes, studios, and other cluttered interiors, with a great many smoky close-ups and drifting camera movements, the film is about the public profile of modernism more than its inner workings. Rudolph treats all his characters as contemporaries rather than historical figures, and as usual in his work the cover stories of the characters count for more than anything else, even when slipping away. The cast is by and large superb: Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Linda Fiorentino, Genevieve Bujold, Kevin J. O'Connor (as Ernest Hemingway), Wallace Shawn, and John Lone. 128 min.

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