I’ve not even seen it yet, but it already looks stunning and sounds
intriguing… Céline Sciamma’s latest film Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) is a historical drama set on an isolated island in 18th-century Brittany. The YouTube trailer seems to give the gist of it.
Young aristocrat Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) refuses to pose for portraits for prospective husbands as she doesn’t want to be married off – note passive verb there – so the mother hires artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant), ostensibly as Héloïse’s “ladies’ companion”, in order to memorise her features during their walks by day and paint her in secret by night.
I’m raging that I missed it at the IFI French Film Festival in Dublin last month, but the film goes on release in the UK and Ireland on 28 February 2020. Knowing my luck, I’ll then have to wait until it comes out on Netflix or a terrestrial channel, or I get to borrow the DVD.
Meanwhile check out the real-life artist responsible for the paintings and sketches featured in the film. Hélène Delmaire painted 16 hours a day during the filming, and her website has several examples of her long-running series “Eyeless”: mesmerising portraits of young women with the eyes obliterated (see below). What d’you reckon?