Portrait of a Lady on Fire Directed
Céline Sciamma France / 2019 / 121 minutes
In French with subtitles
Times and Venues:
France, 1760. Marianne, a worldly female painter, is commissioned to paint the portrait of Héloïse, an inexperienced young woman who has been brought home from a convent to be married. Héloïse, a reluctant bride and subject, poses a challenge to Marianne, who looks for creative ways to observe her subject and produce the painting without her knowing. As the women take walks along the remote Brittany coastline, the crashing waves mimic the ebb and flow of their developing relationship. Playing cards in the evening by candlelight, the flickering flames are symbolic of the burning emotions that begin to well up between them. With an all-female cast, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is uniquely feminine — simultaneously restrained and emotive. Winner of Cannes Film Festival's Best Screenplay, it has been described as a film “painted with the same delicacy and craft as an 18th Century oil masterpiece.”
BIO: Céline Sciamma received a master’s degree in French literature before enrolling at the La Fémis film school. She writes for film and television and debuted as a director in 2007 with Water Lilies. Her internationally praised second feature film, Tomboy (2011), was awarded at the Berlin and Odessa International Film
Festivals, among others. Her coming-of-age-drama Girlhood (2014) won three awards in the first year after premiering, including the Bronze Horse at the Stockholm Film Festival. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is her latest film.
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