The Mystery of Picasso

The Mystery of Picasso
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Cinematography Claude Renoir
Edited by Henri Colpi
Release dates
1956 (France)
7 October 1957 (NYC)
Running time
78 mins
Country France
Language French

The Mystery of Picasso (French: Le mystère Picasso) is a 1956 French documentary film about the painter Pablo Picasso, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, and showing Picasso in the act of creating paintings for the camera. Most of the paintings were subsequently destroyed so that they would only exist on film, though some may have survived.[1]

The film begins with Picasso creating simple marker drawings in black and white, gradually progressing to full scale collages and oil paintings.

It won the Special Jury Prize at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival[2] and was shown out of competition at the 1982 Festival.[3]

This famous art movie wasn't the first documentary showing Picasso painting images on glass plates from the viewpoint of the camera. The Belgian documentary film Visit to Picasso (1949) did it almost seven years earlier.


  1. Klady, Leonard (March 1986). "Return of the Centaur". Film Comment. 22 (2): 20–22.
  2. "Festival de Cannes: The Mystery of Picasso (In Competition)". Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  3. "Festival de Cannes: The Mystery of Picasso (Out of Competition)". Retrieved 2009-06-13.

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