Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★★

THEATER. INTERIOR. NIGHT.MARIANNE makes her way among the spectators on the balcony of an Italian-style theater. She sits down and watches the room fill up in the hubbub of voices amplified by the acoustics of the auditorium. She distinguishes a familiar silhouette which progresses in the opposite balcony. The face slips away and Marianne does not take her eyes off it until it turns. It’s HÉLOÏSE. She squeezes between the occupied armchairs and the empty armchairs until she reaches the end of the balcony like the edge of a precipice. She’s sitting there. There’s nothing between her and the stage. Her eyes are riveted on this horizon. She does not look at the room as the conversations go out one after the other as by mutual agreement.“She didn’t see me.”The theater suddenly fell silent before the stormy violins begin their first movement.(Music begins)Like a restrained breath torn by a well-known staccato, the one of the inaugural notes from Vivaldi’s Summer presto. HÉLOÏSE displays a first disturbance in the face of the first bars of this long-awaited piece. You get imperceptibly close to her face during the 3 minutes of the movement.This face experiences the dramatic deployment of music as it hears it, pierced by the generous rise of it. There is everything: there is surprise, elation, a beating heart, waiting, melancholy, concentration, the red which goes up to the cheeks, the memory, the sadness, and the breathing which becomes deeper.All the attitudes of a woman that we knew well, and that we loved to look at. That we loved, period. But there are also things that we didn’t know about her and that are being discovered. Maybe because they are new, like this wrinkle around the eye. Maybe they are things that we hadn’t been able to see and that remained to be understood.When the piece reaches its exalted final, HÉLOÏSE reveals the last and most alive of all her faces.”“Adèle had only one instruction: to finish on an inhalation.”

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