Is Celine Sciamma‘s Portrait Of A Lady on Fire the Barry Lyndon of quietly (but intensely) erotic, layer-by-layer, 18th Century lesbian love stories?
Maybe that’s not quite the right way to describe it (especially given that Sciamma’s film is much more heated and desire-driven than Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 period classic, which is nothing if not dryly ironic, emotionally chilly and 100% asexual) but it’ll do until a better description comes along.
It’s only a period-flavored story of suppressed attraction and the gradual striking of sparks, but it’s about as perfectly done as this sort of thing could possibly be. Especially the coded use of the number 28. Double especially the final shot of Adele Haenel emotionally quaking as she listens to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”
Photo caption: Costars Noemie Merlant, Adele Haenel, director-writer Celine Sciamma at beginning of Portrait of a Lady on Fire press conference, following this morning’s 8:30 am screening.