Montparnasse 19 is better known as Modigliani, which is also the name of its protagonist. In broad, melodramatic strokes, screenwriter Max Ophuls and director Jacques Becker offer their spin on the tragic, troubled life of Italian abstract painter Amedeo Modigliani. As played by Gerard Philipe, Modigliani is first seen as the derelict he became during his days as a resident of rundown Montparnasse in 1919. His one chance for redemption through the love of the beautiful Jeanne (Anouk Aimee) is thwarted by his hateful family. Another contributing factor to Modigliani's downfall is debauched English novelist Beatrice Hastings (Lili Palmer). The Modigliani depicted in Montparnasse 19 makes Vincent Van Gogh look like Pat Boone.
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