Review of Picassos äventyr (1978)
The life of Pablo Picasso, including the seldom remembered time when his father, holding the rank of Hauptbahnhof in the Wehrmacht, failed to spot a war refugee whom Picasso had helped conceal as a soldier joining the search party to look for himself upon entering Picasso’s apartment.
A surreal comedy with some dark and socialist tones, representative of its creators, the duo Hasseåtage. As a biopic, it is overtly untrue. Some ingredients of this paradoxically good film:
- Deliberate reliance on kitsch and prejudice to describe important and unimportant world events: One street in the small Swedish town of Tomelilla is unambitiously dressed up as at least four different metropolises, matte-painted by Per Åhlin, always with a newspaper headquartered in the building furthest to the right.
- Actual metropolitanism: 9 languages are spoken, almost all of them so poorly that any Western viewer and most others can get by with a translation of the narrator’s voice alone.
- Melancholy criticism of war and capital: Picasso’s father survives not only his own death and his distinguished service under the Nazis, but also Picasso’s final escape from life, making money off of his son all the while. The narrator sincerely and directly criticizes Picasso for losing his ideals.
- Occasional musical numbers.
It’s gleeful and cozy. A lot of scenes are strong on an individual, episodic basis, though not as a unit. I believe it would have been funnier if Picasso had been shown as the asshole he was.