A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Moderns -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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Robert Harris
Alan Rudolph, the director of The Moderns, came through the ranks, learning much from Robert Altman.

The works of both, very much represent the best side of independent cinema.

And The Moderns is very independent.

Produced on a relatively low budget, with Montreal standing in for Paris c. 1926, it's a constantly beautiful thing to behold.

The subject matter is the modern art movement, which began in Paris in the early 20th century, and became popularized by the mid-1920s, with Paris the go-to place, and modern art the centerpiece of human emotions.

The film tackles the concept of art vs. commerce, as Keith Carradine plays a forger of some quality. The question becomes perception of what is real as opposed to what is fake, and how people might react.

The film received okay reviews at the time of its release, in 1988, but in my humble opinion, has grown better with a bit of bottle age. I find it totally enjoyable.

Shout Factory's new blu-ray does justice to the work, as color, black levels, grain structure, et al, are all in place.

If you've not yet discovered Mr. Rudolph's work, this might be a good time to begin. Be sure not to miss Choose Me, Welcome to L.A., Trouble in Mind, and Mrs. Parker...

Image - 5

Audio - 5

4k Up-rez - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Recommended

RAH
 
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obscurelabel

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Alan Rudolph has directed over 20 features, many of them very interesting, yet he has to be one of the least-discussed directors ever. A listen to his excellent commentary on the DVD of Trixie (one of the zanier comedies of the past 40 years) might give an answer: for that movie, he deliberately chose a directing style of "no style whatever." Ronale Neame (another under-discussed director) made a similar remark on his commentary for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, that he wished for his direction to be "invisible" and not draw attention to itself (it worked out well for Maggie Smith). Not having any readily recognizable tropes might make Rudolph's films hard to get a critical handle on. I sure wish he had directed more out-and-out comedies besides Roadie, Trixie, and Breakfast of Champions, since those are each wild, weird, wooly and wonderful. That the same man directed thoughtful and elegant films like Choose Me and Mrs. Parker makes it that much harder to get a handle on him.
 
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lark144

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mark gross
I think this is the third Alan Rudolph film on Blu Ray. I'm especially waiting for CHOOSE ME, TROUBLE IN MIND & REMEMBER MY NAME, which is not in any way meant as a put down on THE MODERNS, as it's quite good and has a remarkable cast, and is also simultaneously very funny and somehow quite melancholy. I think that dual quality, as opposed to thematics or a consistent visual style, may be the unifying element of Alan Rudolph's films. Alan Rudolph's films are not so much united by the way they look as the way they feel.

While Alan Rudolph worked in a lot of different genres, his films are all distinguished by a very ironic tone, and the characters' actions and motivations often go off the rails, so that even neo-noirs like TROUBLE IN MIND and REMEMBER MY NAME turn into dark comedies of confusion and social dislocation, while his comedies, such as CHOOSE ME & even ROADIE, have a dark undercurrent about them.
 

Vincent-P

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Does the Blu-Ray have the subtitles for the French-language sections that were missing on the DVD? (I'm not talking about the Blu-Ray having optional SDH subs for the whole film)
 

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