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Portrait of a Lady on Fire

  • Drama
  • Romance
  • 2019
  • Céline Sciamma
  • 116 mins
  • 15

Summary

Romantic period drama starring Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel. In 18th-century Brittany, artist Marianne is hired to covertly paint a portrait of noblewoman Heloïse, a reluctant bride-to-be who has outsmarted prior attempts. Marianne poses as Helöse's companion in order to observe her and create sketches, but as the women spend more time together, they grow closer and Marianne's secret project threatens to be revealed.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

An erotic tale unfolding on the cold, blustery French coast in 1760 provides a Brontëan setting for director Céline Sciamma's arresting drama. Valeria Golino plays a countess who hires artist Noémie Merlant to secretly paint a pre-marital portrait of her daughter, Adéle Haenel, a reluctant bride who has outsmarted all previous attempts to do so, seemingly in reaction to her sister's fatal cliff fall. This careful, clever ruse to capture her image in oil becomes a fully fledged love affair pivoting on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice - the lover forbidden to look back at his wife while leaving the underworld lest he lose her. Raw locations, rustling silk dresses and a sure-footed pace add to the growing passion as the women's relationship itself runs toward a metaphorical cliff edge. Entertaining, exciting, subtle and sensual, this is a love story in a society free of direct male influence. The cast is superb, with Luana Bajrami's young maid serving as comic relief and a sharp reminder of the perils of pregnancy.

Credits

Cast

rolename
MarianneNoémie Merlant
HéloïseAdèle Haenel
SophieLuàna Bajrami
The CountessValeria Golino
La faiseuse d'angesChristelle Baras
L'eleve atelierArmande Boulanger
L'homme salonGuy Delamarche
Le batelierClément Bouyssou

Crew

rolename
DirectorCéline Sciamma

Details

Theatrical distributor
Curzon
Released on
2020-02-28
Languages
Italian | French
Guidance
nudity
Formats
Colour
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