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Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (original title)
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On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.

Director:

Céline Sciamma

Writer:

Céline Sciamma (screenplay)
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Popularity
70 ( 33)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 36 wins & 109 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Noémie Merlant ... Marianne
Adèle Haenel ... Héloïse
Luàna Bajrami ... Sophie
Valeria Golino ... La Comtesse
Christel Baras Christel Baras ... La faiseuse d'anges
Armande Boulanger ... L'élève atelier
Guy Delamarche Guy Delamarche ... L'homme salon
Clément Bouyssou Clément Bouyssou ... Le batelier
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Storyline

In 18th century France a young painter, Marianne, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse without her knowing. Therefore, Marianne must observe her model by day to paint her portrait at night. Day by day, the two women become closer as they share Héloïse's last moments of freedom before the impending wedding.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some nudity and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

France

Language:

French | Italian

Release Date:

14 February 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Portrait of a Lady on Fire See more »

Filming Locations:

Bretagne, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$67,344, 8 December 2019

Gross USA:

$735,114

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,338,532
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (as Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the festival scene the women sing 'non possunt fugere' continuously: it's Latin for 'they cannot escape'. The same chant can be heard over the closing credits. See more »

Quotes

Marianne: You'll hear the rest. Milan is a city of music.
Héloïse: Then I can't wait for Milan.
Marianne: I'm saying there will be good things.
Héloïse: You're saying that, now and then, I'll be consoled.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 2020 Golden Globe Awards (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu
(Bande originale du film)
Para One, Arthur Simonini
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly"
3 November 2019 | by DjMethodSee all my reviews

  • I've dreamt of that for years.
  • Dying?
  • Running.
_____________________________

And so begins our introduction to the titular character and her nascent growth into being--a growth beyond the canvas, beyond the parameters of physical isolation, beyond the inescapable predicament of social and family burden. It is a taste of freedom. The beginnings of a liberating journey to find an existential peace from the inner turmoil that, as we learn early on in the film, likely took her own sister's life.

Céline Sciamma's Portrait de La Jeune Fille en Feu is a remarkable film. It is Call Me By Your Name in its judgement-free paradise, palpable sexual tension, and look-into-the-flame Élio catharsis. It is The Favourite in its female-centric, lesbian-tensioned period drama with Vivaldi as a centerpiece (but with a mood far more romanced than Yorgos' unique lavish satirical darkness). It is Persona in its framing of duality and Abbas Kiarostami in its lunar pacing. It is unapologetically feminist: a love story between two souls who happen to be women on an island free of men, including but not limited to an abortion, the subsequent painting of said abortion, and the gentle caressing of armpit hair at center screen.

While not entirely its own, the film is nonetheless brilliant in almost every regard. Cinematography, including framing, color palette, and the dream-like landscape, is stunning. There is a visual language of unspoken glances and facial beauty through close-ups and lighting that parallels the script and brings out the mystique of the enigmatic Héloïse. The story is unveiled so poetically, as if watching the long-restrained passion of the female artist slowly burst from the seams of her oppressive corset of objectification.

'"The "muse" is this fetishized silent woman who is inspiring just because she is beautiful. One of the manifestos of the film is to get rid of this idea of the muse-which is a nice word that actually hides the participation of women in artistry."
  • Céline Sciamma, Writer/Director


The nine muses of the Greek Mythology were deities that gave artists, philosophers and individuals the necessary inspiration for creation. One of the nine muses, Calliope, had a son named Orpheus... Sciamma's thought-provoking commentary on women and art is gently told but powerfully received, and it does not go unnoticed.

This film, like a majestic portrait, will remain echoing in your mind like the haunting hymnal Latin chant, "Fugere non possum": I cannot run away.


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