Portrait of a Lady on Fire

by Céline Sciamma

A Poem Called: 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'


Portrait of a Lady on Fire it's the name of french director Céline Sciamma's fourth feature- length film. With a crew of mostly women on the main tasks, the director set out to make a retrospective project, defiant from inside and out. A passionate love story of restraint and freedom; passions and repent.

I’ve dreamt of that for years. Running

Set in a remote island somewhere in 18th century France, we follow the journey of Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a young painter given with the task of portraying the daughter of a noblewoman, Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). However, this will soon prove to be a challenging task as the fiancee refuses the marriage, and so to be painted. Thus they will play this game of cat and mouse where Marianne, pretending to be a caretaker, will go out on walks with Héloïse while she tries to spy on her faction's to sketch her.

Will you manage it? To paint her

What follows is a subtle yet enchanting love story, both stoic in its realistic appraisal of the women's circumstances, as idealistic in the portrayal of the freedom that is temporarily available to them. A reflective tale that much like a poem, provokes us to dream of freedom while reminding us of the reality that restricts it.

-I was scared I had scared you off
-You were right, I’m terrified

The movie meticulously traces the tension and passion of the characters, the desire of every delicate gesture. The camera invites us to explore, like a curious gaze, anxious to see beyond the frames. Claire Mathon's cinematography carefully delineates these precise movements and lights delicately the scenarios with Rembrandt's proficiency, giving the film a soft, bright, and idealistic neoclassical feel. An ode to Bergman's work.

After a while, you’ll see her when you think of me

This film is more a contemplation of equality than a chronicle about forbidden love. A beautifully profound revision of the burdens of constraint. A poem of bliss and remorse,both ardent and rigorous, passionate and philosophical. Needless to say, I highly recommend it.



Written by Juan Pablo Ortiz from logueinn