PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
Unbridled passion is ablaze in Céline Sciamma’s triumphant period drama capturing the smoldering romance between a grieving young aristocrat and the woman hired to paint her portrait.
Along the rocky shores of late 18th Century Brittany, wide-eyed and soaked Marianne (Noémie Merlant) arrives with her treasured canvases in tow to paint the local Countess’s daughter, Lady Héloïse (Adèle Haenel, PFF25’s The Unknown Girl). Tragedy has brought Héloïse home and forced her into an arranged marriage with an older man in Milan, and the portrait is meant to act as a satiating tease before her arrival in Milan. Due to Héloïse refusing to pose for all previous visiting painters, Marianne slyly acts as a hired companion for the unstable, mourning woman. After days spent studying Héloïse’s golden hair, soul-piercing eyes, and her slight uptick of the mouth, Marianne retreats to her room to paint by firelight. But the evolution of their flirtatious relationship into something deeper may prove futile since Héloïse is set to leave for Italy at a moment’s notice. Winner of Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a gripping chamber romance that shatters 100 years of cinema’s leering male gaze. A depiction of a complex, sensual romance between two women, Portrait truly establishes writer/director Céline Sciamma (Girlhood, PFF23) as a master.
CAST: ADÈLE HAENEL, NOÉMIE MERLANT, VALERIA GOLINO, LUÀNA BAJRAMI
All sales are final. Admission is not guaranteed after scheduled start time.
CLICK HERE to return to the complete 28th Philadelphia Film Festival schedule.