Passion brews quietly between an artist and her subject, until they together create a space in which it can briefly flourish, in this sumptuous eighteenth-century romance from CÃ©line Sciamma, one of contemporary French cinemaâs most acclaimed auteurs. Summoned to an isolated seaside estate on a secret assignment, Marianne (NoÃ©mie Merlant) must find a way to paint a wedding portrait of HÃ©loÃ¯se (AdÃ¨le Haenel), who is resisting chattel marriage, by furtively observing her. What unfolds in exquisite tension is an exchange of sustained gazes in which the two women come to know each otherâs gestures, expressions, and bodies with rapturous intimacy, ultimately forging a subversive creative collaboration as well as a delirious romance. Charged with a yearning that almost transcends time and space, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
mines the emotional and artistic possibilities that emerge when women can freely live together and look at one another in a world without men.
- New conversation between director CÃ©line Sciamma and film critic Dana Stevens
- New interviews with actors AdÃ¨le Haenel and NoÃ©mie Merlant
- Interview with cinematographer Claire Mathon from the 2019 Cannes Film Festival
- Interview from 2019 with artist HÃ©lÃ¨ne Delmaire on creating the paintings for the film, along with behind-the-scenes footage
- An essay by film critic Ela Bittencourt