Criticism of Fernando
La Banda Picasso (2012)
Paris, 1911. Young Pablo
Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire and their friends are suspects in the legendary
robbery of Mona Lisa from the Louvre.
Based on the real robbery of the Mona
Lisa in 1911, when young Pablo Picasso and his friends
were the prime suspects of the robbery.
Is the group of artists who
have formed around Picasso responsible for this or is this all based on a
Filmed in French and set
principally in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, La banda Picasso is a caper comedy about a
burglary that is based on real characters and events.
Ignacio Mateos, whose physical features make him the ideal actor
to get into the skin of Picasso, plays with ease his role, in a film in which
humor is key, but whose final turn is quite
Directed by Madrid-born film maker
Fernando Colomo (Los Años Bárbaros,
Al Sur de Granada, Rivales), the film tells the story of the robbery of the
Mona Lisa from the Louvre Museum,
Paris, in 1911, that led to the arrest of Pablo Picasso and his friend Guillaume Apollinaire as the principal suspects.
It would appear, however, that the real culprit was an old friend of
The mainly French cast features Ignacio Mateos in the role of the renowned
Malaga-born artist and Jordi
Vilches, from Girona, in the role of painter
and sculptor Manolo
The film, then, describes a little-known
chapter in the life of Pablo
Picasso, an artist with strong ties to the city of
Barcelona, where he lived during his formative years, and where
he maintained an enduring relationship that would culminate in the foundation of
the museum that bears his name.
Picasso is summoned to testify before a judge for his possible
collaboration in the theft of one of the great works of the Louvre: La
Gioconda. Its informer: Apollinaire, whose relationship with the painter
Pablo remembers how his friend Guillaume had introduced him to a young man whom
they call El Barón and who, finding
out about his fascination with Iberian statues, decided to
steal them from the Louvre and sell them at a ridiculous price.
Those statues were four years before the inspiration of the
first cubist painting, "Las señoritas de Avignon."
Pablo is Spanish, Guillaume is Polish and
El Barón is Belgian. And the press talks about an international
band arriving in France to rob museums.
In the antipodes of any other portrait that
has been made of an artist, is La Banda
Picasso, a naughty tape that shows us the
feverish artistic atmosphere of the Parisian bohemian and how the genius of
Malaga gave birth to Cubism, probably without knowing how to sell to himself as
he deserved, but gradually progressing to the place he deserves in the History
of Art and in his revolution in the conception of painting.
Ignacio Mateos, whose physical features make him the ideal
actor to get into the skin of Picasso, plays with ease his role, in a film in
which humor is key, but whose final turn is quite dramatic.
In 1904 the young Spanish painter Pablo
Picasso lives in Paris where he shares a studio with
George Braque. A group of artists
has formed around him. Their goal is to remove the artistic old guard from their
In addition to Picasso, the group of writer
Guillaume Apollinaire, poet
Max Jacob, Fernande Olivier (Picasso's partner and muse) and
Gery Pieret, also known as
the Baron, had a riotous rule.
Picasso slowly develops its cubist style during this period.
Meanwhile, the group is mainly busy rustling advances with their patron
Leo Stein for the works of
During a visit to the Louvre,
where they spend a lot of time discussing art, the Baron shows how easy it is to
steal a number of Iberian busts. He gives this to
Picasso, for whom they will be one of the sources of
inspiration for his cubist painting "Les Demoiselles
Shortly thereafter the world is
startled by the news that the Mona Lisa has been stolen from
the Louvre. First the art friends react with a laugh to this
message, but then they begin to realize that they themselves might be suspected.
After all, does Picasso not himself possess robbery art from the
[Criticism of The Picasso Band]
A movie that can not be defined
In that volubility of
the story is that not a few critics have seen the biggest Achilles heel of the
film: neither is a thrilling thriller about the theft of the Mona Lisa, nor a
decided comedy to laugh with a jaw, not much less a Drama of documentary dyes
only suitable for gafapastas ...
However, that indecision of the script
also signed by Colomo (and nuanced over eight long years and
fourteen versions), is perhaps one of its greatest virtues because it contains
the right dose of each of these ingredients to maintain the attention of the
viewer and let him taste an exquisite atmosphere, which abounds in the portrait
of each of the artistic figures that are presented. And without being boring or
The humanization of the characters and, in particular of
the protagonist leads us to see him even confronted with the great artistic
institutions of the time that far from understanding the revolution he
undertakes with his art they even laugh at him.
The Macguffin of La banda Picasso: the smile of La
Colomo's excuse to tell us about Picasso's relationship with his fellow
adventurers is the robbery of the Gioconda, a real event that happened in 1911
and as a result of which Pablo Picasso and Guillaume
Apollinaire were arrested and accused of committing the crime.
However, little interested in clarifying this event: its goal is to tell
us in a casual way what is the idisióncrasia of each of the artists that appear
on the tape and among which we find the most flowery of the world of painting
and Literature: Henry Matisse, George Braque,
Gertrud Stein, Max Jacob, Marie
Laurencin, Manolo Hugué ...
In this sense, the final epilogue is very emotional, in which the
photos of the real characters appear accompanied by one of the phrases that
could summarize their way of thinking in some way. It is at that moment in which
the viewer can realize that Colomo has been able to give the
appropriate brushstrokes to draw more complex portraits than they might have
seemed at first.
With everything and with that, the tape takes
time to be tuned and a greater intensity is missed in some sequences that are a
Some curious facts
Shot almost in French and surprise! mostly in Budapest
(incredible recreation of the Parisian avant-garde under other skies), it is
highly recommended to see it in the original version in order to subtract all
the substance from the incised in Castilian or the nuances of
the way of speaking of the strangers in French.
Difficult to escape the
Goya to the best costumes, careful to detail in that evolution
of Picasso since he is a practically anonymous character until
he already has a specific weight within the French art circles.
The most memorable and fun sequences are those that take place on
the train platform (what a nostalgia, those old trains ...), either because it
is the moment of great and heartfelt farewells or because they are the ideal
places to hold small surprises.
And eye to the fact, that the next
one in putting itself in the skin of Pablo
Picasso will be Antonio
Banderas in the project of Carlos
Saura titled 33
days. In this film the process of creation of Guernica will be shown.
"Visually stunning film" ~ Variety
"Vivid period sketch" ~ Variety
"Enjoyment lies in subtleties such as the beautiful visual aspects and mutual
communication of the characters ~ Filmpjekijken.nl
"Flamboyant rascal film" ~ NRC
"Picturesque portrayed" ~ Telegraaf
"Nice time" ~ TV Newspaper
"The nagging and arguing of the artists is extremely amusing and endearing" ~
La Bande à
Spain / France - 2013 - 103 min. - French spoken
Drama / Comedy
Script: Fernando Colomo
Beatriz de la Gándara
With: Ignacio Mateos, Stanley Weber,
Louise Monot, Raphaëlle Agogué, Pierre Bénézit, David Coburn, Lionel Abelanski,