7.8/10
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21 user 26 critic

The Mystery of Picasso (1956)

Le mystère Picasso (original title)
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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Himself
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 May 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of Picasso  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,143, 23 February 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$267,836
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Color:

| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Featured in Public Speaking (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Delightful
23 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Mystery of Picasso starts by announcing that we will have the pleasure of entering the mind of Pablo Picasso, seeing how he gets his creative inspiration; the film promises us that the only way to do this is to watch Picasso's hand. Picasso paints on paper that the ink bleeds through, putting the camera on the other side of Picasso's canvas and watching the a reversed version painting appear in a seemingly magical way. It becomes clear early on that Clouzot is not wholeheartedly trying to show us how Picasso gets his inspiration; that is a mystery. Clouzot wants to capture the joy of painting. That's what makes this film so entertaining: watching bizarre, beautiful images appear out of nowhere. Sometimes Clouzot uses jump-cuts to show us the different phases of a work in progress at a rapid-fire velocity and then reverses the painting in the same jump-cut technique, deconstructing Picasso's. This is all scored to fiery jazz music. We also see Picasso while painting, as his painting is timed. (Picasso has a great screen presence). Clouzot is equally concerned with deconstructing Picasso's work to understand what makes this fast-working artist tick, showing how impossible that task is, and wowing us all the way through. As far as wowing goes, Clouzot did a pretty good job, with scenes that ranged from unforgettable to pleasantly surprising.


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