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Pablo Picasso and Henri-Georges Clouzot, the director of masterpieces of suspense such as Le Corbeau and The Wages of Fear, had been friends for thirty years when they decided to rent a studio in Nice in
the summer of 1955 and make a film. The result is one of cinema’s most vivid documents of a great artist at work, lifted by two brilliant decisions Clouzot made in his approach to Picasso. The first was to avoid the anecdotal, entirely eschewing interviews and explicatory material, while the second and most important was to ask Picasso to paint on a semi-transparent canvas that is filmed from behind, filling the frame, so that viewers see Picasso’s art take shape before their eyes. The choice to show Picasso’s lines without his hand allows for his act of artistic creation to become a beguiling animated spectacle, but also plays on film’s unique ability to share a point-of-view, giving viewers rare insight into how a genius might see his work. The wonder of seeing this great artist wrestling with a composition and, as Picasso put it, of seeing the painting beneath the paintings, is enhanced by this bright, sharp restoration, which makes it seem like Picasso is still at his easel today.