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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.

Director:

James Ivory

Writers:

Arianna Huffington (book) (as Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (screenplay)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Hopkins ... Pablo Picasso
Natascha McElhone ... Françoise Gilot
Julianne Moore ... Dora Maar
Joss Ackland ... Henri Matisse
Dennis Boutsikaris ... Kootz
Peter Eyre ... Sabartes
Peter Gerety ... Marcel
Susannah Harker ... Marie-Thérèse
Jane Lapotaire ... Olga Picasso
Joseph Maher ... Kahnweiler
Bob Peck ... Françoise's Father
Diane Venora ... Jacqueline
Dominic West ... Paulo Picasso
Joan Plowright ... Françoise's Grandmother
Laura Aikman ... Maya
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ahavotav Shel Picasso See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$87,054, 22 September 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,002,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merchant Ivory Productions faced strong objections from Francoise Gilot and her son, Claude, when making this film. Claude Picasso met once with the Merchant Ivory team, but then strongly objected to the making of the film, petitioning the studio to stop production. Gilot had written her story in the book "Life with Picasso" in 1964, which Picasso had tried to stop from being published. The filmmakers were unable to acquire the rights. Instead they used Arianna Huffington's "Picasso: Creator and Destroyer" as the basis for Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's script. See more »

Quotes

Dora Maar: Who are your friends?
Pierre: Francoise and Genevieve. They're painters.
Dora Maar: What do they paint, besides their finger nails?
See more »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Difficult Man
11 June 2005 | by operamaskSee all my reviews

The movie is about Francoise Gilot, not about Picasso. It is not intended to tell Picasso's story. Picasso was brilliant, spectacular, the living center of the world of art and a sexual magnet. Women wanted him and, king that he was, Picasso viewed their adoration as no more than his due.

Francoise Gilot, a talented painter in her own right - but no Picasso - lives for ten years a life which for her is absolutely worth the pain. And when the pain is so grave that she will surely be overwhelmed, she stands up and leaves. The pain doesn't go away instantly, but it does go away, in time.

In one memorable scene, Gilot, at home with the baby, questions Picasso's absences, his obvious womanizing. He tells her in no uncertain terms that he will do as he chooses, that his life outside their home is none of her business. She has no right to question him. He doesn't say, "Take it or leave it," but that is the unmistakable message. She takes it, for a few more years, and another child.

It would be interesting to know whether Gilot, who was born in 1921 and is apparently still with us, harbors regret. I cannot imagine that she does. Of course she would have enjoyed that ten years better if Picasso had been able to love, in some recognizable way. But would she trade that life for one less magnificent? For one that would not be a good movie? Hardly.

The acting is of course perfect. Anthony Hopkins becomes the man Picasso. Natascha McElhone, Julianne Moore and Susanna Harker tell us the truth. Well paced, finely directed, this movie tells a riveting story. It is very, very good.

It is perhaps worthy of note that many of the negative reviews of this movie are written by men. Picasso was not just difficult; he was a Difficult Man.


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