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Surviving Picasso [Import]

Anthony Hopkins , Natascha McElhone , James Ivory    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Surviving Picasso [Import] + Pollock (Special Edition) (Sous-titres français) + Frida
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After their brilliant collaborations on Howards End and The Remains of the Day, director James Ivory and Anthony Hopkins reunited (along with producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala) for this controversial film about the life and loves of the great artist Pablo Picasso. Hopkins is outstanding in the title role, portraying Picasso as a brilliant, manipulative egotist who used his power over women to fuel his artistic impulse and voracious sexual appetite.

But Surviving Picasso is not intended to be a screen biography and, as many critics noted in mixed reviews, this 1996 film fails to provide any substantial insight into Picasso's complex personality. It's more about Françoise Gilot (Natascha McElhone), the aspiring artist who was one of the few women to "survive" Picasso's love and emerge as a stronger, more confident person with a life of her own outside of Picasso's often destructive sphere of influence. McElhone is impressive in this breakthrough role, conveying the seductive effect Picasso had on women, but also holding her own against the artist's unpredictable temperament.

Surviving Picasso was based on the unflattering book Picasso: Creator and Destroyer by Arianna Huffington, so the Merchant-Ivory team did not have the cooperation of Picasso's estate. The result is a film that shifts its focus away from the artist and onto his positive and negative effect on those who entered his inner circle. It's a fascinating portrait of a fascinating man and his equally passionate lovers, fueled by excellent performances. Even though you know you're not getting the whole story of Picasso's best and worst behavior, the movie grabs and holds your attention. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enduring Picasso Jan. 7 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I find Anthony Hopkins to be a master at becoming whatever he intends to create. He was just as believable as President Nixon in "Nixon", as he was a madman in "Silence Of The Lambs". Here again, he does not dissapoint me. The movie is dark, and I would tend not to agree with the accuracy of the historical aspects of the film, but I did find Hopkins to be a compelling Picasso. And, yes once again, I found myself watching Pablo Picasso. I enjoy biographies of painters and creative souls, and I would be hard pressed to find a biography that is uplifting and has a happy ending. I found the same in "Surviving Picasso". It is a little long in the tooth, but I found the cinematography to be beautiful and again, Sir Anthony Hopkins' performance is beautiful. I would reccomend this for any Hopkins lover.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing March 26 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I've watched this movie many times because I'm fascinated by the man, especially hoping to get a better understanding of what his life was like. The more I learn about him though, the more this movie is so one dimensional and inaccurate. It was based on the harshest biography of Picasso which is unfortunate because it gives a false impression of what he was really like. I would still buy it because the scenes are filled with his studios and artwork, however it would have been one of my all-time faves if it focused more on his work and his passion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars MOSTLY A GREAT ARTIST Oct. 29 2000
Format:VHS Tape
It's a common fact that great artists often make poor human beings, unable to connect with real life in a decent way.It was certainly the case with PABLO PICASSO and we knew that before this movie was made.The film seems to say that he only loved women for the sake of his art.Being SPANISH, he was a latin man with a deep inclinaison towards his own ego.His control over the people he knew really destroy them in many ways.While it is a work of fiction, the performances keeps it interesting ,even if we don't have to take it all too seriously.
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Format:VHS Tape
This video gives insight into the life and persona of Picasso. While it touches on his climb to fame, recognition and success in the art world, it focuses primarily on his personal relationships. I love his work, but I sure wouldn't have wanted to live with him! The video had therapuetic effects for me; I would assume it would for any viewer as it certainly calls into question your own view of relationships, how they are and how they should and shouldn't be. A winner all the way around.
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