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Surviving Picasso (1996)

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The passionate Merchant-Ivory drama tells the story of Francoise Gilot, the only lover of Pablo Picasso who was strong enough to withstand his ferocious cruelty and move on with her life.



(book) (as Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington), (screenplay)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Eyre ...
Françoise's Father
Françoise's Grandmother


In 1943, a young painter, Françoise Gilot (1921- ) meets Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), already the most celebrated artist in the world. For the next ten years, she is his mistress, bears him two children, is his muse, and paints within his element. She also learns slowly about the other women who have been or still are in his life: Dora Maar, Marie- Thérèse (whose daughter is Picasso's), and Olga Koklowa, each of whom seems deeply scarred by their life with Picasso. Gilot's response is to bring each into her relationship with Picasso. How does one survive Picasso? She keeps painting, and she keeps her good humor and her independence. When the time comes, she has the strength to leave. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Only his passion for women could rival his passion for painting.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of nudity and brief sex-related language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 September 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ahavotav Shel Picasso  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$87,054 (USA) (20 September 1996)


$2,002,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Reproductions of Picasso's art work were not allowed to be used in the film; however, the estates of Henri Matisse and Georges Braque allowed their work to be represented. See more »


Pablo Picasso: You are in the labyrinth of the Minotaur. You should know that the Minotaur consumes at least two maidens a day.
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Memo to the Academy - 1997 (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good as complimentary educational material.
5 August 2003 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

The first time I watched this, I didn't really get what was going on. All the plots about Picasso's various wives seemed mixed up and uninvolving.

However, now that I am studying Picasso and his women for an AS art module, I can watch the film and feel very satisfied because it breathes a lot of life into the subject. For this reason it is worth having some fore-knowledge or a framework of Picasso's life prior to viewing it, which I guess restrains the target audience somewhat.

Hopkins was superb and became Picasso completely in behaviour and physique - even to the extent of shaving his head and wearing brown contact lenses. His accent took a while to take hold though, which I thought was odd, as the early scenes felt very cold and welsh simply because he hadn't quite shaken off his normal speech. This didn't matter after a while though, because his entire manner was actually very well done and really brought out the macho and possessive ego of this wild artist.

One major flaw however: Nazi stormtroopers would never march as sloppily as portrayed in this picture.

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