Le mystère Picasso (1956)

PG  |   |  Documentary  |  18 May 1956 (France)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,308 users  
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A filmed record of Pablo Picasso painting numerous canvases for the camera, allowing us to see his creative process at work.

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Complete credited cast:


Using a specially designed transparent 'canvas' to provide an unobstructed view, Picasso creates as the camera rolls. He begins with simple works that take shape after only a single brush stroke. He then progresses to more complex paintings, in which he repeatedly adds and removes elements, transforming the entire scene at will, until at last the work is complete. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 May 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of Picasso  »

Box Office


$267,836 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)


| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Special transparent 'canvases' were constructed so that Pablo Picasso could paint on one side and 'Renoir, Claude' and Henri-Georges Clouzot could film the other. See more »


Featured in Public Speaking (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Picasso's cubical...
4 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If there was one word to describe this film for me, it would be "inspirational". And I think anyone who practices art or appreciates the process of art, can find this film enjoyable to watch. The film's title speaks for itself. We are engaged in an experimental documentary watching a prodigy at work and trying to unravel the magic of how it all happens. In the beginning there is a voice-over narrated introduction to the film, "Nobody knew what Rimbaud thought of when he wrote the poem "the drunk boat"." And then we realize that we are in for a real treat. Who would ever guess that the master of cubism would allow us to see his creative ideas at work? Most artists are very stubborn about this sort of thing, but then again most famous artists are also pretty ego-centric. The film places the camera behind a canvas that leaves the image transparent so that we can see the painting process without looking over the shoulder. There is a beautiful classical score along with this film and as the drawings progress, Picasso then takes on bigger challenges with paintings. The pacing is just right where the drawing process starts slow and then the strokes become faster with time-lapse photography. There is an amazing moment where the cameraman warns Picasso that he is about to run out of film. Picasso asks how many feet is left and calculates the timing of his painting and just at the last second, Picasso transforms the entire piece into something unexpected and radically different. We can see the spontaneity and playfulness in his work. The end is a mural shaped painting that evolves through many stages until Picasso says something like "its ruined. I have ruined the painting and yet at the same time, its improving." This is an indication of Picasso's fearless drive. When he paints, he is on fire. He works diligently for hours. Its fascinating to see little figures that he will paint over and over with more detail or more color. He wants to emphasize details that seem so ambiguous and its as if he's saying to the audience "look at this" "keep looking at this" "this is important." I first saw this film in the theater when I was about ten or twelve years old. I'm glad my family friends took me to see this. It has inspired me throughout the years. I saw the film again when I was twenty-four and it was just as I remembered it. After it was over, I did the same thing I did when I first saw the film; I pulled out a sketchbook and started drawing. This film is a real treat.

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wow i cant believe nobody has seen this or commented milkmandan370
I've recreated these works. stewart-50
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