Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu
Céline Sciamma’s masterly film about tentative love in 18th-century France.
Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Valeria Golino, Luàna Bajrami
France 2019. 119min
In 18th-century France, artist Marianne (Merlant) is commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Héloïse (Haenel) so it can be sent to a suitor. However, her subject neither wants to be married nor painted, so Marianne is tasked with stealthily capturing Héloïse’s likeness while pretending to be her walking companion. Sciamma’s masterly film is a beautifully observed romance that burns with passion and defiance.