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.
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.
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.
NOTES—got to love these French attempts at ‘pure’ documentary/one blinks and asks themselves ‘where is he?’/from a critical perspective I just want to list colors[good thing]/jump cuts work stylistically a successfully avoids tedium/footage in reverse smart bc deconstruction just as telling as construction/break:: chat:: change to over-the-shoulder/TIME CRUNCH:: gives tension and characterizes our figures [...]
Absolutely outstanding, unlike anything I've seen before. Picasso's process is endlessly fascinating to watch, his canvases come to life to breathe and evolve before our eyes in a way no animation could replicate. You find yourself involved in the paintings, rooting for Picasso and criticizing his decisions as they are made. It puts you in the mind of the artist and gives a true appreciation of his genius.
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.