Film Review: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2020)

“How do we know when it’s finished? | At one point, we stop.”

A romance at once somber, dreamlike, and mythic that uses the social restrictions of the period to tell a beautiful (if bittersweet) forward-thinking story. Yeah, my fave of the year so far.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I’m just going to talk about the sound and use of music now. Prominent sound and, especially, music (all non-diegetic) only features in a few curated moments. Otherwise, we only hear the loud cracks of a fireplace or waves under the cliffs to illustrate one character’s separation from community and intimacy. When we hear music, we savor it like she does and look forward to our next opportunity to hear it. This is a mere sampling of the sensory experience Celine Sciamma and company create with this piece. Dope!”

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