The Mystery of Picasso

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Ribs
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The Mystery of Picasso

#1 Post by Ribs » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:25 am

Henri-Georges Clouzot, best known for his classic French thriller Les Diaboliques, took on a different mystery in 1956: the creative process and the essence of an artist, namely Pablo Picasso.

Utilising transparent canvases so the camera of Claude Renoir could directly capture an artwork’s creation, Picasso created 20 artworks for the film. At first, these are simple sketches in marker, but each grows in complexity until the final reel, when The Mystery of Picasso switches to a CinemaScope ratio and bursts into colour.

One of the greatest documentary portraits of an artist of work, this release is accompanied by two other films of Picasso: Paul Haesaerts’ BAFTA-winning A Visit to Picasso from 1949 and a charming ‘home movie’ by fellow artist Man Ray.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation, from materials supplied by Gaumont
• Original French mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
• Optional English subtitles
• A Visit to Picasso, Paul Haesaerts’ 1949 BAFTA-winning documentary on the painter, capturing Picasso at work in his Vallauris studio
• La Garoupe, a 1937 ‘home movie’ by Man Ray, in black and white and colour, of Picasso and friends holidaying near Antibes
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and illustrator John Coulthart

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tenia
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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#2 Post by tenia » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:44 am

The release blurb makes it slightly different than it actually is : the first reels actually also contain color artworks.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#3 Post by dda1996a » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:47 am

Was literally reading about this after Godard mentioned how great this is in one of his talks. Would definitely check this out.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#4 Post by knives » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:01 pm

This is a fabulous movie that should be a delight on Blu. Too bad Arrow couldn't snag the Resnais short on the Milestone disc.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#5 Post by zedz » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:41 pm

You can all thank me for buying the existing US DVD earlier this year (I haven't even watched it yet). Though that disc includes two commentaries and Resnais' Guernica, so at least it's not totally redundant.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#6 Post by MichaelB » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:21 am

The recent documentary Hockney paid tribute to this, only with the aid of 21st-century technology in the form of an iPad whose software recorded each individual brushstroke as it was made, so when played back you get an uninterrupted view of the picture taking shape in a very similar fashion to the ones in the Clouzot film. Are there any other examples of major artists doing something like this? Because as a close-up look at the creative process in action it's absolutely riveting.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#7 Post by zedz » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:59 pm

MichaelB wrote:The recent documentary Hockney paid tribute to this, only with the aid of 21st-century technology in the form of an iPad whose software recorded each individual brushstroke as it was made, so when played back you get an uninterrupted view of the picture taking shape in a very similar fashion to the ones in the Clouzot film. Are there any other examples of major artists doing something like this? Because as a close-up look at the creative process in action it's absolutely riveting.
A major artist, though not perhaps a major painter: Oskar Fischinger's Motion Painting No. 1 is pretty much a stroke-by-stroke account of the artwork he's creating, with the crucial difference is that the painting is a means to an end in that case (i.e. the intended artwork is the film).

And Erice's Quince Tree Sun is an extraordinarily detailed depiction of the painting process, though not in so literal a way, as it's more focussed on how Antonio Lopez Garcia prepares his subject and himself for the painting (e.g. ensuring that his position and stance is always exactly the same) than the individual brush strokes.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#8 Post by dda1996a » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:49 am

zedz wrote:
MichaelB wrote:The recent documentary Hockney paid tribute to this, only with the aid of 21st-century technology in the form of an iPad whose software recorded each individual brushstroke as it was made, so when played back you get an uninterrupted view of the picture taking shape in a very similar fashion to the ones in the Clouzot film. Are there any other examples of major artists doing something like this? Because as a close-up look at the creative process in action it's absolutely riveting.
A major artist, though not perhaps a major painter: Oskar Fischinger's Motion Painting No. 1 is pretty much a stroke-by-stroke account of the artwork he's creating, with the crucial difference is that the painting is a means to an end in that case (i.e. the intended artwork is the film).

And Erice's Quince Tree Sun is an extraordinarily detailed depiction of the painting process, though not in so literal a way, as it's more focussed on how Antonio Lopez Garcia prepares his subject and himself for the painting (e.g. ensuring that his position and stance is always exactly the same) than the individual brush strokes.
The Quince Tree has long fascinated me, as I adore everything else Erice has made (its off subject, but his La Morte Rouge is just phenomenal)

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#9 Post by zedz » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:20 pm

The Spanish DVD is wonderful (lots of extras - and it looks like it's still available from fnac.es), but the transfer is rather dated now and it would greatly benefit from a new restoration and, obviously, wider distribution.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#10 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:48 pm

Yes, I really should have recalled The Quince Tree Sun, which I haven't seen since it was out in 35mm. But I remember we played it a fair bit in rep at the time.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#11 Post by tenia » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:50 am

For whoever is producing it at Arrow, be aware that the B&W sequences have a huge green bias despite having been shot on B&W stock. Hopefully, this can still be corrected for this release.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#12 Post by Calvin » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:08 am

zedz wrote:The Spanish DVD is wonderful (lots of extras - and it looks like it's still available from fnac.es), but the transfer is rather dated now and it would greatly benefit from a new restoration and, obviously, wider distribution.
A new 4K restoration played Cannes Classics earlier this year, so hopefully someone puts it out

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#13 Post by swo17 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:05 am

knives wrote:This is a fabulous movie that should be a delight on Blu. Too bad Arrow couldn't snag the Resnais short on the Milestone disc.
Just rewatched this short and I'm gonna say the Milestone is worth keeping even for that alone.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#14 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:59 am

Gremillon's André Masson et les 4 éléments would be a great fit on this disc too.

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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#15 Post by Ribs » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:12 pm


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Re: The Mystery of Picasso

#16 Post by GaryC » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:46 pm

Ribs wrote:SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation, from materials supplied by Gaumont
• Original French mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
• Optional English subtitles
• A Visit to Picasso, Paul Haesaerts’ 1949 BAFTA-winning documentary on the painter, capturing Picasso at work in his Vallauris studio
• La Garoupe, a 1937 ‘home movie’ by Man Ray, in black and white and colour, of Picasso and friends holidaying near Antibes
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and illustrator John Coulthart
There are a couple of extras not listed above. A 25-minute interview with Maya Picasso, who was an assistant on the film is well worth watching, as she's quite candid in places. There's also a short restoration demonstration.

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