Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★½

(Elgin Winter Garden Theatre TIFF19 screening)

We have an astonishing screenplay that is witty and sarcastic but also touching and sincere, two actresses who bring ferocity to simple stares, and a filmmaker with the artistic eye of michel-fucking-angelo. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is all that and then some. 

The film’s strongest component is the weight of each shot. The composition and styling in each scene is purposeful and unforgettable: the way Héloïse flicks her eyes up at Marianne, the wet canvases framing Marianne’s naked body, the part of the actresses’ lips after they finally kiss. There is devotion and magnitude and clear thought and intention that makes this film swallow you whole.

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