a radiant vision of 18th-century female intimacy

Dir: Céline Sciamma. Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Valeria Golino. Cert tbc, 120 mins

There are dozens of portraits going on in Portrait of a Lady on Fire, including oils on canvas, crayon sketches and astonishingly radiant widescreen close-ups from the director of photography Claire Mathon (Stranger by the Lake), who, with this and Mati Diop’s Atlantique, has scored a double-impact coup like no one else at Cannes this year. The two films could hardly look more different.

But it’s especially significant that in Portrait — a film about the suppressed but lasting power of the female gaze — writer-director Céline Sciamma found a collaborator who could sympathetically frame her…

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