Le mystère Picasso

Henri-Georges Clouzot, France, 1956o


Using a specially designed transparent 'canvas' to provide an unobstructed view, Picasso creates as the camera rolls. He begins with simple works that take shape after only a single brush stroke. He then progresses to more complex paintings, in which he repeatedly adds and removes elements, transforming the entire scene at will, until at last the work is complete.

What goes on in the mind of an artist when he creates a piece of work? This is the question French director Henri-Georges Clouzot, otherwise known for thrillers such as Les Diaboliques and Le salaire de la peur, tried to fathom in 1956. To do this, Pablo Picasso painted in his studio on a pane of glass, which was filmed from the other side. Using stop-motion technique, twenty vignettes are created whose motifs can be deciphered stroke by stroke. The images in the film, which range from simple drawings to collages to oil paintings, were supposedly destroyed after production, making the film the actual work of art. Particularly fascinating is how many layers Picasso creates in some paintings that would have remained hidden without the film technique. A unique documentation of the artistic creative process that offers far more than watching paint dry.

Moritz Hagen

Ein filmisch überragender Versuch, Picassos Malkunst ‹direkt› und unmittelbar darzustellen: Vor der Kamera malt Picasso auf ein transparentes Spezialmaterial und kommentiert dabei höchst eigenwillig und amüsant seine Ideen. Clouzot hat mehr als drei Monate bei der Erarbeitung dieses Films mit dem Maler verbracht. Das Ergebnis ist eine technisch brillante Studie über den künstlerischen Schaffensprozess.



Slant Magazine, 2/26/2019
All rights reserved Slant Magazine. Provided by Slant Magazine Archiv
The New York Times, 10/7/1957
All rights reserved The New York Times. Provided by The New York Times Archiv
film-rezensionen.de, 6/8/2020
All rights reserved film-rezensionen.de. Provided by film-rezensionen.de Archiv
Libération, 1/16/1997
All rights reserved Libération. Provided by Libération Archiv
Watch Picasso Make a Masterpiece
/ Royal Academy of Arts
en / 2/19/2020 / 03‘48‘‘

Denis Villeneuve on "Le mystère Picasso"
/ Tiff Originals
en / 10/20/2021 / 01‘40‘‘

Rencontre avec Pablo Picasso en 1966
/ INA Culture
fr / 9/17/2014 / 04‘02‘‘

Movie Datao

Other titles
The Mystery of Picasso EN
Running time
78 Min.
Original language
Important Awards
Cannes 1956: Grand Prize of the Jury
ØYour rating7.5/10
IMDB user:
7.6 (2681)
< 10 votes
7.0 (3) q

Cast & Crewo

Pablo PicassoHimself
Henri-Georges Clouzothimself
Claude Renoirhimself


Watch Picasso Make a Masterpiece
Royal Academy of Arts, en , 03‘48‘‘
Denis Villeneuve on "Le mystère Picasso"
Tiff Originals, en , 01‘40‘‘
Rencontre avec Pablo Picasso en 1966
INA Culture, fr , 04‘02‘‘
Review Slant Magazine
Chuck Bowen
Review The New York Times
Bosley Crowther
Review film-rezensionen.de
Rouven Linnarz
Review Libération
Louis Skorecki
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