Filming Picasso and Karajan
in Henri-Georges Clouzot
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This chapter deals with the documentary films which Clouzot made with Pablo Picasso and Herbert von Karajan. Le Mystère Picasso was filmed at La Victorine studios in Nice and first shown at the Cannes festival in 1956, where it was awarded a special jury prize. Le Mystère Picasso attempts to probe the mystery of artistic creation. Colour had the aesthetic function of highlighting the act of artistic creation. Clouzot made five films for the Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan. His successful work with Karajan demonstrates Clouzot's durability and versatility. But the music films are no more than technically skilful records of the maestro and his musicians in performance, with Karajan at their centre. It has little sense of the filmmaker's presence other than as one of the conductor's facilitators. In fact, Karajan carefully used his sessions with Clouzot in order to learn about filmmaking, subsequently launching his own productions of his performances and directing them himself.


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