The Mystery of Picasso

One of the most exciting and joyful movies ever made!-Pauline Kael

(Le mystère Picasso) “We'd love to know that secret process guiding the creator through this perilous adventure (of art),” says Clouzot in voice-over. “Thankfully, what is impossible to know for poetry and music is not the case in painting. To know what's going through a painter's mind, one just needs to look at his hands.” Ironically, hands are not what we see in Clouzot's intriguing glimpse of Picasso, but instead we gaze upon a multitude of brushstrokes, disembodied but beautiful nonetheless. In a style devised for the film about his artist pal, Clouzot sets up a camera behind a translucent surface, so that the maestro's every painterly gesture is recorded. Paintings emerge from the seemingly effortless frenzy of flourishes, some successful, some merely a mimicry of Picasso performing himself-“superficial,” he cries out at one point, then revises his failed work, backtracking, shifting the weight, collaging, adding color, imposing new ideas in a continual, fluid process. Now and then the director approves, to which Picasso responds, “At least it's a painting.” Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, this colorful glimpse of the seventy-five-year-old Picasso captures the fecund nature of his creative process, a spontaneous revelation of form in continual transformation.

Also playing on Wednesday / 02.01.12 in Film 50

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