Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★

An exquisitely crafted, mesmerisingly told & sumptuously photographed portrait of love & equality in a forbidden era, Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) captures the intoxicating feeling of falling in love in all its purity, and is beautifully realised on the film canvas by the powerfully alluring chemistry between its leading ladies.

Written & directed by Céline Sciamma, the story takes its time to acquaint us with its premise & setting, provides its characters plenty of room to breathe freely, and takes us on an emotional roller-coaster without hurrying any moment. Sciamma's direction employs a minimal approach, focusing less on dialogues & more on emotions in the given scene, and it simply works.

From the moment the two women are in the same frame, there is a charged tension evident between them. And the confusion, hesitation, longing & subtle gestures only intensify until they take the leap of faith, and discover themselves for the first time. It is sensible in its sensuality, persistent in its passion, and the echoes of first love that it leaves behind will resonate with many, if not all.

The rich, vivid & dynamic colour palette, impeccable low-light photography & simple, arresting camerawork adds a vibrant quality to its images, and is a definite highlight. Adèle Haenel & Noémie Merlant are as impressive individually as they are together, and render their respective characters' desires & intimacy with emotional sincerity & precise body language. Their romance is pure, unrushed & splendidly portrayed.

On an overall scale, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is brought to life with a reverberating heartbeat & immaculate restraint, and is passionate storytelling at its most serene. An elegant mix of scintillating direction, adept writing, spellbinding cinematography, composed editing, relaxed pacing & stellar performances, Céline Sciamma's latest is amongst the most stirring, soulful & stimulating works of its genre, and is one of the best films of the year.

Block or Report

CinemaCl🎃wn liked these reviews