Art Cinema: Painters on Screen

Le Mystère Picasso

Henri-Georges ClouzotFrance78 minutes1956GColourB&WFrench

May 10
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    North American Premiere of 4K Digital Restoration!

    "One of the most exciting and joyful movies ever made" (Pauline Kael), Henri-Georges Clouzot's portrait of Pablo Picasso at work focuses on a different kind of suspense, a different kind of mystery than that of the director's other films: that of artistic creation. With transfixing intensity, Clouzot scrutinizes Picasso's process of drawing as the artist produces a portfolio of 20 works in 75 minutes, capturing his every seismic change of mood in a drama of escalating excitement; through the use of special inks that bleed through the semi-transparent surface, the movie screen is turned into Picasso's canvas, so that the audience palpably feels his every swoop, scribble, and feint. Andalusian eyes blazing, the virtuosic and volatile Picasso sometimes obliterates what he has just created, and moves from black and white to colour — the latter in a stunning moment in which the aspect ratio changes from the squarish 1:37 image to the enthralling sprawl of CinemaScope. "This film is about poetry and we feel overwhelmed by it ... A work of Picasso created before our very eyes! That is a miracle, which, if need be, would justify the greatness of cinema" (François Truffaut).