Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★★

“do all lovers feel they’re inventing something?”

wow. i have no words for this film. nothing that can do it justice, at least. i’ve written many versions of a review that analyses the work of art that is portrait of a lady on fire, however nothing i wrote felt good enough. i remember reading somewhere that céline sciamma wrote portrait of a lady on fire as a tribute to the female artists of the past. whose work hangs unnamed and forgotten in museums around the world, because no one knows enough about them. well, here’s to the forgotten women. the artists, the writers, the lost names of painters and illustrators and poets. this was such a beautiful way for her to honour them, the most perfect film i’ve seen in a long time. i’m an artist at heart; i write, i draw, i paint, i take photos, i dance, i play music. and i’ve been wanting to share a bit more of my creative self here on this site. so, i wrote something that’s less of a review, but more a piece of writing that encapsulates everything this film made me feel. i turned a bunch of jumbled words and phrases i had written down into something, not a poem, not a short story, just something. word vomit, probably. anyway, here it is:


it’s golden. golden sand, golden hair, golden flames. warm and glowing. hypnotic. forbidden glances stolen, clandestine strokes of a paintbrush, dripping gold and ivory and emerald green. wild beauty. flames dance and flicker, wavering light, a mirage. she is melancholy and enigma. the pull of her, magnetic.

painter and muse, restraint and caution. feelings all left unsaid. dreaming and longing. we don’t say and we don’t do, but it’s there and it’s palpable. repressed emotion too much to bear, what smoulders bursts alight into a fire too strong to ignore. “do all lovers feel they’re inventing something?” we create a story, a story never told before. we are wholly our own, love born anew. 

star-crossed lovers, with only one chance. a fleeting joy, thrillingly unfamiliar. delicate and earth-shattering love made in quiet moments. the deep, turquoise blue of the ocean lulls us into a sense of solitude, keeping the threat of a new life at bay. but, a vision of a white gown, it haunts. a reminder hanging overhead of what little time remains. 

vibrant passion and tangled limbs turns to lingering memory and the distant haze of time. all that’s left is a portrait drawn on page 28 and a fire inside the heart. a love short-lived, but never truly lost. let’s hold on to the embers.

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maddy 🧚‍♀️ liked these reviews