Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Céline Sciamma
Running Time
119 mins

Tomboy and Girlhood director Céline Sciamma‘s period romantic drama was a huge hit at Cannes, where it won both the Best Screenplay and Queer Palm awards.

Set in 18th century Brittany, the film follows artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant), who’s commisioned by a countess to paint a portrait of her daughter Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). This is intended for the young woman’s future husband (whom she has never met) as testament to her charms. Héloïse is not best pleased with any part of this arrangement and refuses to sit for anyone. So Marianne poses as a walking companion to Héloïse by day, and captures her likeness on canvas from memory at night. Intimacy of the variety that Héloïse’s mother probably didn’t anticipate ensues…

By robin askew, Friday, Nov 15 2019

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