Enfilade

Film | Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Posted in films by Editor on February 22, 2020

From the official website for the film, which opened in France last fall:

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, directed by Céline Sciamma and starring Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel, 120 minutes, 2019.

France, 1760. Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), a young woman who has just left the convent. Because Héloïse 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. The portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.

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. Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel turn the subtle act of looking into a dangerous, engrossing thrill, crafting the most breathtaking and elegant performances of the year. To watch Marianne and Héloïse fall in love is to see love itself invented onscreen.