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.
The literal translation of the original title is, "Portrait of the Young Girl on Fire." One suspects that "the Young Girl" was changed to "a Lady" for the English title of the film in order to evoke the Henry James novel, "The Portrait of a Lady." See more »
In the a cappella singing scene, the singers' words and clapping do not match the pictures. See more »
We were walking by the cliffs. She was behind me and vanished. I saw her broken body below.
Did you see her fall?
No. I think she jumped.
Why do you think that?
She didn't cry out.
See more »
Concerto No. 2 for violin in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, L'Estate
Composed by Antonio Vivaldi
Performed by La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler (director/violin) See more »
A feast for the eyes
The acting by the two principle actresses in this movie is first-rate. The direction, though it moves slowly, is very good.
But what made this movie remarkable for me was the cinematography. The most striking scenes feature the blonde character walking along the shore against a relatively light-blue sea. You have to see it to experience how beautiful those scenes are.
But some of the interior scenes have face lighting that will make you think of Rembrandt. (The movie is about a painter, so it's not surprising that the lighting of faces should be very important.)
There are other scenes where you have one deep red dress against a white background, again to very striking effect.
I just saw this movie in France, so with neither dubbing nor subtitles. I don't know how it will work with either of them.
But if you can understand the language - which is very clear, very classic standard French with little background noise behind it - you will discover a remarkable study of two women photographed in a truly astounding manner.
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