Portrait of a Lady on Fire

In our film this week, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, pockets serve as a reminder of the attention to detail inherent in film making, and also as evidence of how women’s lives were controlled in the late 18th century. But more of this later…

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE tells the story of Héloïse, a young woman from an affluent background who is set to enter into an arranged marriage with a Milanese man. Set on an isolated island in Brittany, France at the end of the 18th century, the plot sees Marianne tasked with painting a portrait of Héloïse without her knowledge.

The film won the Queer Palm and the Best Screenplay prize at Cannes 2019.  

Our very own film guru Mark says…

“When I saw this film a few months ago, (as part of my BAFTA voting duties) I was certain it was perfect for Film Club but it wasn’t available until June 2020. However the folks at Curzon obviously knew you wanted to see it sooner so have made it available to stream.”

Some reviews..

“There are theme-park rides; there is cinema; there are sacred love poems to take with you for the rest of your life. Thank you for giving us the last one, Céline Sciamma.”

“What unfolds is an instantly canonical love story for the ages, and I don’t make such a claim lightly.”

And the pockets thing…?

Oh yes. Director Céline Sciamma wanted her characters to have pockets in their dresses. Friends told her this would be far too modern and not true to the period. However, Sciamma discovered in her research that 18th-century dresses did have pockets… until they were “forbidden” on the grounds “women shouldn’t hide anything”