Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

classified 15 S

French Film Festival on Tour


Please note: This was screened in Dec 2019

Céline Sciamma
Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami
119 mins, Subtitled, 2019, France
Primary language:
French | Italian

"It's so good you'll want to watch again in slow-motion immediately afterwards just to see how she does it"
- The Hollywood Reporter.

Winner of Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at Cannes (where it received rave reviews and was widely considered the best film of the festival), Céline Sciamma’s striking fourth feature is an exquisite tale of female desire, hidden love, art, and the gaze.

Set in 18th century Brittany, it follows Marianne (Noémie Merlant), an artist commissioned by Héloïse’s (Adèle Haenel) mother, a countess, to paint her daughter's portrait - a piece of art destined for her future husband (who she has never met) as testament to her charms. None too pleased with this custom or her situation, Héloïse has already refused to sit for another artist. The Countess therefore demands subterfuge: Marianne must pose as a walking companion to Héloïse by day, and capture her likeness on canvas from memory at night. Intimacy and attraction swiftly develop between the two women, even as circumstance conspires to drive them apart...

One of the most acclaimed films of the year, this is a stunning look at what we can create, how we can live, and who we can love.