The artist approaches his easel, wields his brush and the painting dances into being before our eyes. Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artist of the 20th century, is making art, and French director Henri-Georges Clouzot is making a movie.
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This should've done for the 'live-drawing' sub-genre what The Last Waltz did for the concert film! Quite why so few filmmakers have followed in Clouzot's footsteps & produced a similar arts-based documentary is probably because the subject matter & specific focus on form & technique is so niche. However, as a historical record & insight into Picasso's methodology, his ability & approach, the film is indispensable.
When you look at him swapping all those inventive layers and you think that most of the old, beautiful ones are buried under the new ones and lost forever... and you are aware that you liked them a lot but it means nothing to him... then you start having a clue of what's inside the mind of a genius. Or, perhaps, what I have written is exactly what that genius wants you to believe. A brilliant and wonderful film.
There are some amazing scenes in this, but instead of being "transfixed by the creative process and its mystery" I found myself feeling like I was watching a screen-saver half the time. It's worth a gander however, if only to see Picasso and Clouzot smoking their tobaccos and thinking intensely.
A revealing documentary not so much with regards to the tireless talent of Picasso or his doric composure, but mainly about the theatricality metonymy which transforms the studio in which the filming takes place to a leap backward in time; as if in the Neolithic era, one observes a half-naked and in shorts Picasso breathing into humanity the archetypal gift of Art. Clouzot's 'primitive' wipes enhance this impression.
An interesting look at the process of a brilliant artist. It remarkably shows great works-in-progress that are painted over (or ruined?) again and again as the idea for Picasso's painting is changing before our eyes. You catch glimpses of some beautiful art that has never been seen before nor will be seen again.