THE PICASSO SUMMER
US, 1969, 94 minutes, Colour.
Albert Finney, Yvette Mimieux.
Directed by Serge Bourguignon.
The Picasso Summer has had very little public screening. It was made for theatre release but has been mainly seen on television. It was directed by Serge Bourguignon, who made Sundays and Cybele and The Reward. However, he was considered difficult, there were difficulties in finance and production and different cuts of the film. Albert Finney has a role which resembles Two for the Road with Audrey Hepburn, made a few years earlier. Yvette Mimieux is an attractive heroine. The film is part travelogue, part romance, part symbolic quest for meeting Pablo Picasso. However, the film offers an opportunity for the popular audience to appreciate Picasso, his particular insights and style. There are inserted at various times animated presentations of his paintings, capitalising on the fluidity of movement with colour and shape as well as the themes portrayed by Picasso. These inserts would have made an interesting short film by themselves. The film is offbeat, not universally appealing ? but with its focus on Picasso has its point.
1. The reputation of the film? Impact? Lack of screening? Television showings?
2. The range of international credits? Europe and the United States? The vision of a European director? The colour photography, San Francisco and the United States, France, Europe? The background of the travelogue style ? with the holiday in summer?
3. The importance of style - the editing, the jigsaw technique, the focus on the paintings, the insertion of the animated sections? The style of the advertising commercial?
4. The Michel Legrand score? Theme and its accompanying the various sequences, especially the animated insertions?
5. The focus on Picasso's paintings, the tribute statue to him? The insertion of the animated segments? To what purpose and effect? The use of the paintings, the explanation, the enticing of the audience to appreciate shapes, movement, the facets of waning? The places of insertion?
6. The conventional story of George and Alice's quest: the background of San Francisco and their work, life together, busy people, professionalism? The party and the willingness to go? The dream and the indication of what they should do? Decisions, departure, arrival in Europe, tourists, the search for Picasso, the villa and their devices? Their separation, the effect of their individual experiences and their return?
7. The focus on tourism and France? Colour photography, cities and locations: bicycle riding, sea, mountains, the games, the mansions? The variety of characters encountered?
8. George and Alice: in themselves, work, relationship, marriage? Hopes and dreams? The importance of the holiday, the journey, the quest and its effect?
9. George and his drinking, the vision of the bullfighting, the Picasso lecture and the fight?
10. Alice and her encounter with the blind painter, his memories, insight, technique, communication to canvas?
11. The Picasso themes and the paintings: war and peace, joy and sexuality, the bullfighters, their skill, prowess and the death of the bull? Insight into Picasso and his art?
12. The importance of the quest, the irony of their failing to meet Picasso ? but a success for themselves?