Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★½

This is a gorgeous piece of filmmaking. Its story is meticulously told, the acting is absolutely incredible, and the story is (somehow) so good. I didn’t think I’d jive with it and I totally did. 

The basic premise is that this painter is tasked with painting a portrait of a woman for her suitor without the woman realizing that she is being painted. Stating it like this makes the film sound a lot more plotty than it is. The reason I think the story is amazing is because of how it messes with conceptions of gaze, how it draws the audience into seeing as our protagonist does, how it is used to make every frame of the film a work of art. And it is a work of art. It all is. 

The word “stunning” comes to mind when considering this film, and it came to mind multiple times while I was watching it. It won screenplay at Cannes which was well-deserved, although I really thought it, the Malick or the Almodóvar was going to take the Palme. With the way the prizes worked out, Céline Sciamma got her due recognition and I’m absolutely delighted with what did win the Palme!

Block or Report