Le Mystère Picasso (The Mystery of Picasso)
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Released shortly after Luciano Emmer's documentary Picasso, H. G. Clouzot's Le Mystère Picasso was an unmitigated commercial disaster - all the more tragic when one considers the groundbreaking nature of its content. Like Emmer before him, Clouzot offers rare and precious glimpses of Pablo Picasso at work. The film watches Picasso draw or paint 15 different works, often via tightly-compressed, time-lapse cinematography. All of the featured masterpieces were intentionally destroyed following production, meaning that they exist only in the cinematic realm. With this documentary, Clouzot… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"We wonder how many moviegoers will want to sit for well more than an hour and watch a largely repetitious performance that amounts to a sheer artistic stunt."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"The work's potential impact is diminished by the gimmicky setup and Picasso's flip approach."
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"Probably best regarded as a fascinating failure, but a failure all the same."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Watching Picasso lay down his brushstrokes does not make for exciting drama."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Respectful but not churchy, and embued with the joy of creation."
‑ Jake Euker, F5 (Wichita, KS)
"The gold standard of nonfiction films about the creative process."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Through the miracle of time-lapse photography, we see the master knocking out a dozen major works over what purports to be the course of a single day."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"An invaluable document, even if the camera seems to ultimately corset rather than unleash the aging Minotaur"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"A mesmerizing document of the artistic process, made possible by filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot's friendship with painter Pablo Picasso."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"By strategically employing the techniques of filmmaking to separate the body of the artist from his work, we end up with an exercise in unintended alienation."
‑ Chris Elliot, PopMatters
"This marvelous film, made in 1956 by Henri-Georges Clouzot ... simply sits back in awe as the grand old man, shirtless and confident, does what he does best."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"works remarkably well for a select audience"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"This is a remarkable and unique work."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"Clouzot fails in his metaphysical quest, but succeeds in producing a movie of uncommon beauty and provocation."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Clouzot found a way to turn the movie screen into Picasso's canvas - now on video for the first time"
‑ Marty Mapes, Movie Habit
More reviews for Le Mystère Picasso (The Mystery of Picasso) on Rotten Tomatoes