Portrait Of A Lady On Fire Review
What’s It About?
A painter in the 18thCentury is hired by a Countess to provide a portrait of her daughter with a view to sending it on to a Milanese nobleman for their intended marriage. However, her daughter must not realise, so the painter has to pretend to be her walking companion.
Who’s In It?
Noemie Merlant (Heaven Will Wait, Paper Flags)
Adele Haenel (Love At First Fight, The Unknown Girl)
Other notables include:
Valeria Golino (Hot Shots, Rain Man, & In Treatment)
Luana Bajrami (School’s Out, Happy Birthday)
Director: Celine Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy, & more recently Girlhood)
Director Celine Sciamma has written and directed a truly beautiful and elegant film about love and loss. Set as a flashback where painter Marianne is asked about the subject of one of her paintings by a student, we see her transported back to that remarkable venture.
Marianne is hired by a Countess to secretly paint her daughter, Heloise, with a view to sending that portrait to a nobleman in Milan ahead of a prospective marriage. Set in a beautiful but remote part of Brittany, it would appear that Heloise is not prepared to have her portrait done, and the last painter had been sent packing, so this time around, it is up to Marianne to disguise herself as a walking companion, and all the while study Heloise’s features, before painting her in secret at night.
Poor Heloise has only recently come out of a convent following her sister’s tragic death, so the prospect of a new friend, and one who stares so longingly at her, is sure to have some sort of impact on her.
The pair’s relationship develops, slowly, before Marianne confesses her secret threatening everything, but to everyone’s surprise Heloise consents to sitting for her portrait.
There is plenty bubbling below the surface in this sensual drama. Director Celine Sciamma is keen to build the relationship ever so slowly, and coupled with two brilliant performances from Adele Haenel and Noemie Merlant, Sciamma pitches the relationship oh so perfectly, mixing tension, intrigue and sensuality seamlessly. The films also looks incredible, beautifully shot by cinematographer Claire Mathon, with stunning costumes by Dorothee Guiraud.
In A Nutshell:
An intriguing, tense and sensual drama, with two sensational leads, and incredible visuals.
The look of the film