The Adventures of Picasso (Picasso Aventyr)

I love this movie. It’s an obscure gem.

Many years ago I ran across a VHS copy on the shelves of The Odyssey video store in North Hollywood. The title intrigued me, so I rented it. A Swedish film from 1978, it is a comedic biography of Pablo Picasso. I was well into it before I realized they were speaking different European languages. That’s because it relied so much on pantomime. From wikipedia:

The film uses ten languages: Spanish, French, Swedish, German, Finnish, Italian, English, Russian, Norwegian and Latin. Most of these words are very simple (agua, water), sometimes meaning something different than they seem (Don Jose’s military rank, Hauptbahnhof, which means “central rail station” in German) and other times just being complete nonsense.

Here is a great scene…

If this next scene doesn’t make you laugh, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog.

More silliness

The entire film is available starting with this part:

3 thoughts on “The Adventures of Picasso (Picasso Aventyr)

  1. I have no idea how non-swedish people perceive the nonsense language in the movie, but since I am swedish it becomes especially funny for me, because it is so obviously what is nonsens, what the words means/or not.
    As they say: ” sometime the words is very simple (agua, water), sometimes meaning something different than they seem.”

    On the other hand, an example of these puns that are so characteristic of Hasse and Tage’s humour, is when Gertrud Stein say to Alice B. Toklas: ” Alice, be talk-less” (Be quiet, Don’t talk!) in which ”be-talk-less” is a distortion of ‘ Toklas ‘. These are the prime example of the kind of ingenious slides as they (Hasse and Tage) often use.

    I can imagine non-swedish people misses some of these subtle nuances of puns that are so characteristic of Hasse and Tage’ humour? Hasse and Tage is very well known comedians in Sweden with a long career (until the 60’s) in restaurant shows in which these subtle nuances of puns often is driven to its limit in theirs shows.

    • Thank you very much for your comment. I am a big fan of Picasso Aventyr, and I wish their other movies were more easily available.

  2. You are welcome. I am a very big fan of Picasso Adventyr to. Some other triva: Elsa Beskow, the narrator of the movie in swedish is a very famous author and artist (in sweden) of children books. In Wikipedia they only say: ” In Sweden the narrator introduces himself as “Elsa Beskow”.

    Holy God! How can they interpret ‘Elsa’ as a name of a man?

    First, Elsa Beskow is not a man! It is a woman! Secondly, it may misslead the reader to believing that she is only any voice, but that is (as I said) wrong. And.. shouldn’t it be strange that the narrator in a movie which is about one of the greatest artist in the history whould be any bone-head among only prominent famous persons?? But I can understand Elsa Beskow is not very well known outside sweden.

    So there may be some details that non-Swedes can be lacking in, which in itself is not dependent on the film in full, (you can see and laugh at the movie) but which are of importance to the coherence of the film.

    An another detail that Hasse and Tage messed up: Miss Cirka is a finnish woman, (it is funny because it is highly unlikely Picasso should meet any finnish!) and the song Miss Cirka singing is a is a recipe for a Finnish dish! If you did not already know? It is typical Hasse and Tage to come up with such weird idea!

    I can understand that their other movies can be can be difficult to come by in other countries



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