Released shortly after Luciano Emmer's documentary Picasso, H. G. Clouzot's Le Mystère Picasso was an unmitigated commercial disaster - all the more tragic when one considers the groundbreaking nature of its content. Like Emmer before him, Clouzot offers rare and precious glimpses of Pablo Picasso at work.
The film watches Picasso draw or paint 15 different works, often via tightly-compressed, time-lapse cinematography. All of the featured masterpieces were intentionally destroyed following production, meaning that they exist only in the cinematic realm.
With this documentary, Clouzot comes as close as humanly possible to defining the genius of Picasso within the parameters of the camera lens. Oddly, Le Mystère Picasso does not appear on many of the official lists of Clouzot's films, even though it won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.