Héloïse: I’ve dreamt of that for years.
There is a thought of love, a memory that lives within. A mystery that surrounded her, the unfinished painting that left an intrigue, a distraction needed, she followed her through the fog into landscape… She started to run towards and stopped at the edge. She turned and looked her. At that moment, she fell in love.
I have been in constant thought of this movie since morning. It hasn’t left, it just grew inside my heart. I don’t know why but a story where the love takes its time, the build up, the little moments, the new introductions and the silence somehow make me fall in love with a movie immediately. And if it makes me cry then…
Written and Directed by Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) is a story set on an isolated island in Brittany, where Marianne a young painter been commissioned to paint a portrait of a young woman named Héloïse, who is to be married off to a Milanese nobleman. Marianne is informed that Héloïse has previously refused to pose for portraits as she does not want to be married. Marianne acts as Héloïse’s hired companion to be able to paint her in secret, and accompanies her on daily walks to memorize Héloïse’s features.
Every second Marianne spends with Héloïse, she starts to feel more and more for her but when it comes to the Portrait and the reveal of truth to Héloïse, she gets agitated and after Héloïse critics her, she just destroys the portrait. But Héloïse agreeing to pose for her brings in a new light. The beauty that Sciamma brings through these two characters is about love. Every feature, the story Héloïse reads, the opera tune Marianne plays for her, the talk about love and the intrigue for it, just brings a strong emotional effect on the viewer.
The delicacy and sophistication that each frame brings, the close ups and capturing every bit of of that nervousness and kind of cute interactions between Héloïse and Marianne just makes you fall in love even more. The walk in the town and the scene when everyone starts to sing and that moment between Héloïse and Marianne is just breathtaking.
Every conversation between them, especially the flirting is just a serve I have to say. I love how they knew about each other and what they did if they felt nervous, angry, annoyed or just lost. Even their bonding with Sophie, the maid and how they help her in her time of need and support her was really beautiful to watch.
Another scene I liked was when Marianne is trying to paint Héloïse but she is teasing her and she comes closer, ordering her to be still and gets even closer and kisses her. And the scene where Héloïse fell asleep in the kitchen and Marianne started painting her. And the BEACH SCENE!!!!!! BREATHTAKING!!!!!
I’ll remember when you fell asleep in the kitchen.
Looks like I am talking about every scene now. I will stop. Claire Mathon’s cinematography made me speechless. The frames can be showcased at a gallery. Fantastic, brilliant, breathtaking, masterpiece, beautiful, lovely…
Adele Haenel as Héloïse and Noémie Merlant as Marianne give one of the best performances of this year. The way they have carried their characters is like a acting masterclass in motion. The argument scene between them is my favorite one and the sequence that occurs after that on the beach. And the final scene… Standing Ovation. César Award for Best Actress right there. The chemistry between Adele and Noémie is so natural.
This is why I love cinema, this movie itself is like a portrait being painted. Every part, frame and moment is delicately orchestrated. It is something so beautiful that I wanted to experience it again and again. I was left speechless. If someone had asked me right after the movie how I felt, I would have just tried to make up some words to create an sentence. Like it is said in the movie, I am now making the lovers poet’s choice not the writers.
The final scene. P.28. The opera. The close up…
“When do we know it’s finished?”
“At some point, we stop.”
I don’t think I can. Sorry. MASTERPIECE!!!!
Rating : 5/5