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The Mystery of Picasso (Le Mystère Picasso)

I have a new piece out on The Mystery of Picasso by Henri-Georges Clouzot in Senses of Cinema 60; it begins:

“At first glance, it might seem that a film about Picasso should have been directed by anyone other than Henri-Georges Clouzot, the famous misanthrope of the cinema. But then again, both were hard, violent men, absolutely sure of their vocations, and each approached their work with the same sense of absolute control and complete lack of compromise; whatever they did, it was entirely up to them, and anyone who interfered would be cut down in short order.

For Picasso, this was not the first cinematic exploration of his creative process; in 1949, the Belgian filmmaker Paul Haesaerts made Bezoek aan Picasso (Visit to Picasso), a 21-minute film in which Picasso creates, as he does in Clouzot’s film, a number of drawings, painting on see-through glass, which the director films from the other side, to allow the viewer to see both the painting and the artist at work, at the same time. . .”

You can read the entire essay here, or by clicking on the image above.

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About the Author

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is an internationally recognized scholar and writer of film history, theory and criticism. He is the author of thirty books and more than 100 articles on film, and appears regularly in national media outlets discussing film and culture trends. Frame by Frame is a collection of his thoughts on a number of those topics. To contact Prof. Dixon for an interview, reach him or his website,

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