Spring 2019 films

Series: Painters’ Lives Through Time

The Mystery of Picasso

Henri-Georges Clouzot

“One of the most joyful of all records of an artist at work.” (Pauline Kael) Clouzot shows us a shirtless, volatile Picasso (hamming it up, maybe, for the camera) as he charges through the creation of fifteen pictures on canvas and paper. For most of the film, though, the screen is filled with those evolving images — we watch Picasso sketch a goat’s head and transform it into a skull, begin a drawing and then scrap it — and the skillful use of time-lapse photography lets us see the choices made by the artist as he completes a work. “Picasso’s penchant for constant revision is perhaps the film’s most fascinating revelation. At the beginning, he creates canvases filled with fine, detailed line work that he later obscures with broad strokes of color. The most fascinating example of this occurs in the finale, after the film breaks into Cinemascope in response to Picasso’s offscreen request for a bigger canvas.” (New York Times) With a soundtrack by composer Georges Auric and cinematography by Claude Renoir, the film has been declared a national treasure by the French government.

website: milestonefilms.com/movie.php/picasso