Set in Paris in the years following World War I, Modigliani tells the story of a tortured genius whose artistic rival was Pablo Picasso. Amedeo Modigliani (Andy Garcia) is a Jewish man who finds himself in a star-crossed romance with Jeanne Hébuterne (Elsa Zylberstein), a beautiful young Catholic girl. Despite the fact that her family disapproves of their match, Amedeo and Jeanne have a child out of wedlock, and her bigoted parents send the infant to a faraway convent so that nuns can bring the child up properly in the Catholic faith.
Out of his mind with worry and in need of cash to rescue his child, Modigliani enters Paris' annual art competition. For the winner, the stakes are a significant amount of money, fame, and a guaranteed career. In the past, Modigliani and his dear friend and rival Pablo Picasso had believed the competition to be beneath them, but since his child is at stake, Modigliani sings up for the contest in a liquor and drug-induced state. Picasso follows him, causing Paris to become thrilled over the prospect of which man might become the winner.
As Modigliani works to create a masterpiece even as he knows that all of the artists of Paris are working hard to defeat him, we see both his heartbreaking addictions and his extreme passion for his work. His relationship with both his lover and his child are vital to his future, and it all hinges on one simple artistic creation. (Kim Hollis/BOP)