The Mystery Of Picasso

(Le Mystère de Picasso)

Must-See Cinema! The best-ever film about watching paint dry!

A mesmerizing document of the artistic process, The Mystery Of Picasso was made possible by director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s friendship with Pablo Picasso. Clouzot persuaded the painter to sit behind a transparent sheet of paper and work – in magic marker, color and black-and-white ink, and finally oils – while Clouzot filmed from the other side. To the viewer, Picasso’s trademark subjects – bathers, bulls, circus performers, goats, matadors, still lives – seem to appear magically, like lines on an etch-a-sketch.

Poster for the inventive 1956 doc The Mystery Of PicassoSometimes the process of creation unfolds in real time; at others, time-lapse photography compresses five-hours of work into mere minutes. In one sequence, Picasso promises the filmmakers a little magic, and starts work on a simple sketch of flowers that he transforms, in rapid succession, into the image of a fish, a chicken, and finally a devilish head looming over a small landscape. There’s no theorizing here, no critical perspective or historical context. Just Picasso painting, until the moment he fills a large white canvas with his name and declares, "That’s the end." You could hardly ask for more.

– Maitland McDonaugh, TV Guide


Ce film unique en son genre montre le peintre et génie Pablo Picasso en pleine création. Au gré de son inspiration, l’artiste compose plusieurs oeuvres sous l’oeil de la caméra du réalisateur Henri-Georges Clouzot.

– Allociné

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