Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★★

French auteur, Celine Sciamma, fashioned a work of art with Portrait of a Lady on Fire. It is one of the most beautiful, haunting, and powerful movies I've seen in a while. This movie takes place in 18th century Brittany and tells the story of an artist, Marianne, who is commissioned to paint the portrait of a wealthy noblewoman's daughter (Heloise) who has refused to be painted. Slowly, the two woman break down each other's barriers and start a romance. Tragically, the relationship between the women is doomed because they are trapped by societal constraints of the time period. For a few brief weeks, they are able to share a liberated freedom in isolation which brings them happiness. The ending of the movie is extremely poignant, reminding me of the finale of Call Me by Your Name. The cinematography is gorgeous; frame by frame, the movie is shot to look like a painting. I liked that Sciamma decided not to include a musical score, often just background noises such as voices, the crackling of a fire, and waves crashing onto the shore. The two lead actresses in the films are phenomenal, too. Overall, I highly recommend this modern cinematic masterpiece.

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