Alan Rudolph subscribes to the idea of Art for Art's sake, and as such is a kindred spirit to all the expatriate painters, poets, writers, and failures who flocked to the cultural Mecca of Paris in the naughty 1920s. The Jazz Age setting is tailor made for the director's latest romantic daydream, crafted here into a tongue-in-cheek satire of passion and creativity. The cast features his usual assembly of lonely eccentrics, cynical anti-heroes, and world-weary women, rubbing shoulders with historical figures like Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway, who at one point compares life in bohemian Paris to a "portable banquet". As always with Alan Rudolph the film is a grab bag of visual wit and verbal invention (coming, at times, dangerously close to self-parody), with the added virtues of sensuous camera-work and a moody music score by Mark Isham. This is one filmmaker with the rare ability to mock his own pretensions (as Wallace Shawn says in the film, "we're artists: temperamental people!"), and his preoccupation with the art of artifice has never been better presented. Too bad the conclusion is spoiled by a false happy ending, which wraps up too many loose ends too neatly.
Comedy / Drama
Comedy / Drama
Nick Hart is a struggling American artist who lives amongst the expatriate community in 1920s Paris. He spends most of his time drinking and socializing in local cafés and pestering gallery owner Libby Valentin to sell his paintings. He becomes involved in a plot by wealthy art patroness Nathalie de Ville to forge three paintings. This leads to several run-ins with American rubber magnate Bertram Stone, who happens to be married to Hart's ex-wife Rachel.
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