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France, 1956 (MIFF 1963)

Director: H. G. Clouzot

This film from the director of The Wages of Fear and The Fiends provides an unusual insight into the actual 'act' of artistic creation. Using specially prepared parchments which enable the camera to record the paintings from the other side, we see Picasso executing a series of drawings, first in black and white, then in colour, and culminating in a more complex group of oil paintings during which the Cinemascope screen is utilised. This method allows the spectator to follow an idea from its first stroke, and we see Picasso fill his canvases with a selection of highly personal creations, ranging from Spanish scenes of bullfights and grandees to a final large scale impression of sea and beach, whose successive metamorphoses seem to illustrate many phases in the growth of the artist's style.

George Auric's score is as varied in mood as the artist's brush. Each picture has its own piece of music which helps to build up an atmosphcre of excitement and tension. There is humour too, and sadness, when - despite immense endeavour - the moment of truth evades the artist and the canvass is scrapped.

The Picasso Mystery should have an appeal for artist and layman alike; it is both an unusual experiment and a valuable record.

This film is made available to the Festival through the courtesy of the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales.

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