Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★½

I don’t much care in the long run if this is at times an incoherent film with nowhere going subplots evolving the character of the maid and the “beauty of abortion” scene (?!) that seem complete out of place; because none of it matter when the real beauty of this is found in the way it creates its lesbian love story as only the backbone of the real main story focus that is the art creation, or better, reality imitation through images. Putting in question the hard doubt and challenge on how can one be able to interpret and capture the true essence of someone through the person's physiognomy and transmit that essence within art. And whether creating feelings for this person will help the end result, or sacrifice it.

The ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice of feeling and love to achieve a visual care and beauty in art itself. And how the scenery around them corresponds to that being an own-life painting, apart being due to the extraordinary cinematography from Claire Mathon . And how it serves to illustrate that the sense of what is art, is already pre-inhabiting in our environment, reflected from our minds and feelings towards everything around us, and to those we love, or remember that we still love.

The small and easy resemblance with Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse is perceptible, but not just to make it feel as its female-lesbian romance version, but a movie yet about taking feelings, love, fondness, companion and devotion, within art to let it survive outside a world that makes it all impossible. And how the film manages to build that with such an intimately beautiful atmosphere, it feels old school but grounded in a timelessness modernity. And the way Céline Sciamma leads its bittersweet faith in a non-tragic note, because yet in the face of sadness, art and beauty can be found, and kept alive.

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