"Portrait of a Woman on Fire": Feeling fever

Portrait of a Woman on Fire: Feeling fever

The sensual image of Céline Sciammy about the nature of love bursts the conventions of costume film and melodrama. The French director, awarded for the script in Cannes, deals with a masculine view of eroticism, women and art. & Nbsp;

You may not know her name yet. Céline Sciamma is a rising star of French cinema. All her films are surprising portraits of girls and women from different generations and social classes. He explores the ideas of solidarity, sisterhood and lesbian love in them. "Portrait of a Woman on Fire", the fourth image of the director, awarded at the Cannes festival for the script, is the most mature implementation of threads known from all her work. It is a perfectly directed and played anatomy of female love.

Although "Portrait ..." is costume because it takes place in the 18th century, genre conventions are only apparently maintained here. Costumes have no special meaning. The director in interviews admits that she did not think at all about the symbolism of the colors of the heroines' dresses. They just have to please the eye. The real drama takes place in the tension generated by the looks and body language in which desire arises. Pictures from the manor house situated on the majestic rough sea correspond to the rich landscape of the face. It is worth watching this movie in the cinema to appreciate the mastery with which Sciamma and the author of photos Claire Mathon use the camera to paint the faces of actresses, play with light and contrasts.

"Portrait of a Woman on Fire" is about a deception from which love is born. A wealthy noble from Brittany (Valeria Golino) orders a portrait of her daughter, Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). The painting is to be a pre-marital gift for the girl's future husband, an aristocrat from Milan. Except that the mourning after the death of her sister Héloïse refuses to pose. I don't want a portrait, I don't really want to marry someone I don't know. However, the mother is adamant. The painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is to pretend to be a babysitter, helping to heal the pain after a family tragedy. The image is created from memory after meetings with Héloïse. Mutual fascination is born between the words.

Sciamata was inspired by the stories of painters who were derived from the history of art. There were more than we think. Not only men had a natural predisposition to creative work. Women also created, but their works were not exhibited or exhibited under a different name. They often played the role of muses, although they were full-fledged artists, as exemplified by the versatile Dora Maar, known more widely as the beloved Pablo Picasso. Through the relationship between Héloïse and Marianne, we can see that the artist-object relation can be an equal exchange. Anyway, the director and actresses (one of them, Adèle Haenel, is a former partner of Sciamma) say that this was what was on the set of the film.

"Portrait of a Woman on Fire" is full of paradoxes. This film, shot in rather cool colors, is about a fever of feelings. Melodrama without pathos. Erotic cinema in which the most exciting are the looks. A historical costume drama that explores the present day, because Sciamma rewrites the history of art again, restoring the right of women to see, create and desire.

In addition to the weave of paradoxes, the strength of this film is also the precision with which Sciamma talks about the dynamics of power. The director refers to the myth of Orpheus and Euridice, but this borrowing from antique is not just an ornament. The appeals, as in the memorable Guadagnini's "Those Days, Those Nights," serve to thicken the narrative about the power of memories. Important questions about the nature of love are asked here. Whom and what do we love? How does memory affect our feelings? Finally - what is representation? How does her power work? And why is it used?

This multidimensional story is sparsely woven. We meet her slowly, in the rhythm of painting a picture that takes shape step by step. For me it is primarily a story about the tension that life creates secretly. How much perverse pleasure is hidden in our four-closed wardrobes, from which we cannot (or do not want to) leave! How much alibi to lie to the surroundings gives us our second life. "Portrait of a Woman on Fire" appears to me as a parable of the title element, which at the same time digests and sustains the heat of our small-big lies.

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