Portrait of a Lady on Fire

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France | 2019 | 135 minutes | Céline Sciamma

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Winner of a coveted Cannes prize and one of the best reviewed films of the year, Portrait of a Lady on Fire solidifies Céline Sciamma as one of the most exciting filmmakers working in the world today.

France, 1760. Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Because she is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse's first moments of freedom. Héloïse's portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.

"Men scarcely appear in the film. It is part of Sciamma's point that they don't need to be present to shape the heroine's futures. Patriarchy is the element in which women, even heroic ones, must swim, which isn't to say that her vision is defeatist—quite the contrary. 'Portrait Of A Lady On Fire' is about seeing—seeing the world, seeing other people, seeing a different way of living and then acting on it."—John Powers, NPR

  • Director: Céline Sciamma
  • Principal Cast: Adèle Haenel, Noémie Merlant, Valeria Golino
  • Country: France
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 135 minutes
  • Producer: Bénédicte Couvreur
  • Screenplay: Céline Sciamma
  • Cinematographers: Claire Mathon
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Rating: R