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Portrait of a Lady on Fire

(French): Marianne is commissioned to paint a portrait of Heloise, a young woman living on what appears to be a rather remote island who is set to leave for Milan to be married to a man she has never met. In order for the marriage to occur, there must be a portrait to send to her soon-to-be husband. Marianne has to keep her reason for being there a secret, so she comes in the guise of being Heloise’s companion. Heloise has no experience with love, or music, or the arts. The film is about the slowly evolving friendship that develops between the two. This is one of the most visually beautiful films I have seen this year. The camerawork is phenomenal; every scene is carefully crafted and could be its own painting. The screenplay is quite amazing, and it is beautiful to watch the friendship between the three women in the house evolve slowly against the backdrop of an era when women were considered to be merely property and were not deemed to have any merits of their own. It is an art film that is about art, and about women, and about beauty and creativity. Everything they do is an act of transgression, and I absolutely loved being mesmerized by the world the women created between themselves. Big thumbs up from me for a film that has multiple moments that sweep you from your seat; it is incredibly beautiful and mesmerizing. (2019; 5 Stars)

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