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Doubled visions: Reflexivity, intermediality and co-creation in the five obstructions and the mystery of Picasso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Review of Film and Television Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jun 2019


Henri-George Clouzot’s The Mystery of Picasso (1956) and Lars von Trier’s and Jørgen Leth’s The Five Obstructions (2003) are two celebrated experimental documentaries on the creative process in the visual arts and cinema made (or co-made) by renowned narrative film auteurs. Ludic exercises in on-and off-screen cinematic collaboration and co-creation, they foreground creativity and its constraints; artistic authorship and genius; and the challenges of creative filmmaking as simultaneously a means of personal expression and a collaborative undertaking. As the main concerns of this article, both films are also marked by an overlapping self-reflexivity, intermediality, and documentary and artistic hybridity, rooted in their innovative incorporation of pre-existing and in-progress art works (films, paintings, drawings). Focused on multiple forms reflexivity and a distinctly performance and process-based “nesting” of works-within-the-work, juxtaposition of the films sheds new light on these dynamics generally, as well as within the styles and careers of Clouzot and Picasso, Leth and Trier.

    Research areas

  • reflexivity, film and painting, Picasso, painting, art history, von Trier, Leth, Clouzot

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