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Portrait of a Lady on Fire 15

Céline Sciamma, France, 2019, 124m.

On 27 April, during Lesbian Visibility week, Dr Alice Pember will introduce the screening.

Céline Sciamma’s (Girlhood, Tomboy) sumptuous portrait of female desire won the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay award at Cannes 2019. France, 1770. Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day, to paint her secretly. Charged with a yearning that almost transcends time and space, Portrait of a Lady on Fire mines the emotional and artistic possibilities that emerge when women can freely live together and see one another in a world without men.

Alice Pember is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. Her work on recent French cinema has been published in Modern and Contemporary France and French Screen Studies. Her monograph The Dancing Girl in Contemporary Cinema will be published in 2024 with Edinburgh University Press.

Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel

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