Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★★

I am so overwhelmed.
With gratitude, with love, with hope, with feeling.

Until I saw Portrait a few months ago, I forgot what it felt like to love a film so much that it consumes your every thought, every feeling. A film that physically inhabits you (I have thought about it every single day since, and I have felt it every single day too).

But also… I have never seen a film like this. A film that actually captures what it’s like to love and live as a lesbian. There are many great films that depict the lesbian experience (accurately, truthfully)—beautiful films, important films. But I can’t think of one that does it in its very structure, in every interaction (between characters, between scenes), in the way the plot is woven. One that offers such a different way of looking at the world and existing within it (a way that I know, that I live, but that is far removed from every other piece of media). And I want to tell people that this is what my life and my love feel like. And let them know just how liberating it is to see it on screen. And even if it gets lost in translation (it’s bound to, everyone experiences the world differently and that affects the way we feel and perceive stories), the act of sharing is so powerful.

And so, when Céline Sciamma spends her press tour talking about lesbian imaginaires & the specificity of our experience & of a different way of representing love, representing women and their gaze and their reality (a reality that has often been erased from history) & of the importance of emancipation and of being truthful to oneself and one’s feelings & of unlearning things and structures and gazes that pollute our love and our memory and our lives & mentioning Monique Wittig & talking about other movies (Mulholland Drive, Titanic, E.T., off the top of my head) but reading them in such a different way than they usually are (but in a way that is so familiar to me)… it’s validating. But more than that, it is absolutely necessary.

Donc merci Céline – un merci qui vient du fond de mon âme.

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