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Surviving Picasso (1996)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  20 September 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 5,541 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 22 user | 26 critic | 18 from

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:
Françoise Gilot
Peter Eyre ...
Olga Picasso
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 <>

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)


ESP 25,932,481 (Spain)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Joss Ackland played author C.S. Lewis in a television production of Shadowlands (1985). Anthony Hopkins played Lewis in the film Shadowlands (1993). See more »


Pablo Picasso: You've loved women even more than I have, but you haven't hated them at all.
Henri Matisse: I leave that to you.
See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Portrait of the Artist as a Monster
25 April 2001 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

It's a pity that many of the user comments on this movie are simply a vehicle for people's dislike of Picasso, and that they treat the film as though it were a documentary. Picasso may have been as sex-mad, egocentric, paranoid and capricious as any Hollywood star (think Chaplin); but first and foremost he was a prodigious artist, who transformed our view of visual art, and dealt with some of the great themes of western culture. And presumably it was those latter qualities which drew women to him, in the same way that women have been drawn to successful, powerful men of dubious character since the dawn of time.

The movie and Hopkins' performance are certainly successful in displaying Picasso's human weaknesses; but there is a failure to adequately convey Picasso's enormous creative power, a weakness compounded by the fact that the makers were not allowed to use much of his work in the film. I see the film as a well made, excellently acted, but partial (in both senses of the word) portrait of the artist. Its real focus is the women in his life, especially Francoise Gilot, and on the two-way exploitative nature of the relationship between a man of this kind and his mistresses/wives.

41 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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