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James Ivory disclaims any desire to bring the great man down, even though critics have suggested that his "Surviving Picasso" depicts the great artist as mercurial, philandering, even miserly and mean.

"This is the way he was. We all know he was probably the century's greatest artist. Everybody knows that," the director said. "Everyone accepts that. And it would be silly to imply anything other than that.

"But sometimes he was this man who behaved the way he did towards people."

Should allowances be made for genius?

"People do make allowances," said Ivory, a three-time Oscar nominee. "That's why you have a story like this. Of course, you make allowances. Genius is part of the attraction; it's also a part of the doom of these people who (are attracted) like a moth towards the candle. Geniuses attract all kinds of people -- for better or worse, for them."

Picasso is portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins.

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