The Mystery of Picasso (2000)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Famed French suspense specialist Henri-Georges Clouzot concentrates upon a real-life enigma in The Mystery of Picasso. While we are treated to several scenes of the legendary Spanish artist at work, explanations of his inspiration are not always forthcoming. As with Pablo Picasso's paintings, this documentary is meant to be experienced, not understood. The in-progress paintings displayed in The Mystery of Picasso were destroyed by the artist after the film was completed, thus this feature-length documentary has in the past forty years assumed the status of "Must See." The brilliant Technicolor cinematography was the handiwork of Jean Renoir's nephew Claude. Mystery of Picasso was released in America by United Artists.
Art House & International , Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Filmsonor Productions


Critic Reviews for The Mystery of Picasso

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (5)

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.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

The gold standard of nonfiction films about the creative process.

February 14, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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.

September 28, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

The work's potential impact is diminished by the gimmicky setup and Picasso's flip approach.

August 16, 2001
Village Voice
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | April 25, 2001
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

works remarkably well for a select audience

Full Review… | January 29, 2012
Old School Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Mystery of Picasso


Fascinating doc that actually shows Picasso working on transparent canvasses. A nice insight into the creative process.

Wu Chouin
Wu Chouin

Super Reviewer

Documentary showing Picasso doing his drawings with a felt-tip pen (or someting like it), encouraged by Claude Renoir (Renoirs grandson no less). A little bit like watching Rolf Harris at work ("Can you guess what it is yet?") but better... after all, it's Picasso. PICASSO!! Bloody fantastic. I was mesmerized.

Lesley N
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

[center][font=Times New Roman][size=4][img][/img][/size][/font][/center] [font=Times New Roman][size=4]Summary (from IMDB): 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.[/size][/font] [center][img][/img][/center] [font=Times New Roman][size=4]Perhaps if I knew more about drawing and painting, I would have liked this movie more. Something about watching paintings appear on a screen for over an hour really tested my patience. The Mystery of Picasso literally consisted of a blank canvas where lines and images appeared as if out of nowhere as Picasso created works of art. In the background is a variety of music. Easily the most interesting parts were the very occasional breaks where Picasso and the film crew were filmed and we got to listen in on their conversations. Also, some of the paintings had interesting processes including the way paintings are 'edited', but at 80 minutes, it was way too much. I would have preferred a 30 minute short.[/size][/font]

Chris Weseloh
Chris Weseloh

The Mystery of Picasso Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Mystery of Picasso on our Movie forum!

News & Features