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.
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu
(Bande originale du film)
Para One, Arthur Simonini See more »
It's a beauty speaking to all lovers.
"When you asked if I had known love. I could tell the answer was yes. And that it was now. "Marianne (Noemie Merlant)
No art form has struggled more to get the depiction of love just right than film. Portrait of a Lady on Fire gets it almost perfect, and it's Sapphic! All you modest types don't need to worry-writer director Celine Siamma stresses the longing and the dance of love much more than its physicality. Two young women spend most of this beautiful romance just getting to the first dance, and the journey is as exciting and anguishing as it was for us in those early years of exploring.
Late 18th century Marianne has been hired to paint young Heloise (Adele Haenel) for her wedding portrait. Not that you can't guess what is going to happen while the first portrait is being painted, but the film languishes long and deep on the glances between these two potential lovers. Those gazes encapsulate the truth of their affections and the high-mindedness of their intentions.
Perhaps the business of painting lends the ethereal quality to their love, which is born of the imagination and fleetingly put on canvas forever. It's just that the slow, loving pace of the camera and the conceit lend a mystery (Will they connect?) and a sweetness (how transforming love can be from a scowl to a smile).
The cinematography, especially of the rugged cliffs and the sea, is well-aligned with the power and danger of their tender love. Not even mother's (Valeira Golino) affection for her remote daughter pales next to the burgeoning passion of the leads.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire fiercely speaks to the fire, conventional or not, that can burn in all of us. Leave it to film to bring out the love in our hearts.
"To love pure and chaste from afar." Man of La Mancha
44 of 68 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this