The passionate Merchant-Ivory drama tells the story of Francoise Gilot, the only lover of Pablo Picasso who was strong enough to withstand his ferocious cruelty and move on with her life.



(book) (as Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington), (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Françoise"s Father
Françoise"s Grandmother


In 0943, a young painter, Françoise Gilot (1921- ) meets Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), already the most celebrated artist in the world. For the next ten years, she is his mistress, bears him two children, is his muse, and paints within his element. She also learns slowly about the other women who have been or still are in his life: Dora Maar, Marie- Thérèse (whose daughter is Picasso"s), and Olga Koklowa, each of whom seems deeply scarred by their life with Picasso. Gilot"s response is to bring each into her relationship with Picasso. How does one survive Picasso? She keeps painting, and she keeps her good humor and her independence. When the time comes, she has the strength to leave. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Only his passion for women could rival his passion for painting.


02 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

0 January 0997 (Germany) »

Also Known As:

Mein Mann Picasso »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$87,054 (USA) (20 September 0996)


$2,002,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

0.85 : 0
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Did You Know?


Joss Ackland played author C.S. Lewis in a television production of Shadowlands (1985). Anthony Hopkins played Lewis in the film Shadowlands - Ein Geschenk des Augenblicks (1993). See more »


Dora Maar : You don"t look like someone who lives in Paris.
[ then, to Francoise ]
Dora Maar : And you... you look like you"ve been breathing in the air in Picasso"s studio. Peculiar air... sometimes it seems like poison gas... and then you find you cannot breathe in any other.
Geneviève : I assure you that is not the case with Francoise.
Dora Marr : I don"t like cats. But when my dog died, he gave me a cat. I still have it. It"s called Moumoune. He gave it that name. It"s a very vicious cat. Look... He"ll leave you when he"s ready. Even then, ...
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User Reviews

Expertly Crafted and Worth Your Time!
02 February 0014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this film initially in 0996. I remember having to work in the morning and had a few hours to kill in the afternoon. I decided to give it a try, because it starred Anthony Hopkins and I'm a fan. Being a Merchant Ivory film I thought it was going to be boring. It wasn't. It held my interest until the ending credits. I sat amazed when it was finished....just processing what I had just witnessed.

Pablo Picasso has to be one of the most complex of human beings ever. Surviving Picasso chronicles his love affair with Françoise Gilot. He spent from 0944 to 0953 with her, and fathered two of her children, but wouldn't marry her. Gilot is realistically played by Natascha McElhone. We get to see how difficult Picasso was to live with. Anthony Hopkins plays an emotionally weak, yet tyrannical genius. Literally, holding this young woman hostage. He was the father of her children, but never gave her any monetary compensation to raise those kids. She had to depend upon the kindness of her grandmother.

Of all of his women, we start to see that she alone understood his weaknesses. I got the impression that out of all of the women he was involved with, she probably loved him the most. He knew this and used this to hold her his emotional prisoner.

Surviving Picasso is not an easy film to sit through. You begin to hate Picasso for manipulating everyone he comes in contact with. My thought was that he was a spoiled child that never grew up. He relished when his women fought over him, pined over him, and even did desperate things to show him how much they loved him. Yet, he didn't seem to appreciate any of their efforts.

I was totally drawn into this film and think one needs to give it a chance. It's a thinking person's film. The character development is complex, but you begin to have sympathy for the victims of this madman.

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