View Poll Results: Yay or Nay?

Voters
14. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yay

    13 92.86%
  • Nay

    1 7.14%
Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

  1. #1
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    29,124

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire


    Black Narcissus - ****
    Come and See - ****
    Never Rarely Sometimes Always - ** 1/2


    twitter

  2. #2
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    29,124
    This is the slow burn of the year (fuck, pun). But the performances are so good, and the love story is developed in such a way that as long as you're up for it, it's worth your time.

    Black Narcissus - ****
    Come and See - ****
    Never Rarely Sometimes Always - ** 1/2


    twitter

  3. #3
    A simple, effective, and haunting thing of beauty. It doesn't overplay its hand and gives the audience a captivating story with just a few elements. The sensual nature of this film is perfection, I don't think there will be another film that really burns as wonderfully as this for a long time. The end, as well as the moments leading up to it, is SO satisfying.

  4. #4
    Screenwriter
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    2,161
    A film built on unhurried accumulation of little details after details -- each gaze (both stolen and open), touch, and gesture, all swirling around Sciamma's formally charged direction (loved the recurring image of two profiles glancing at each other repeatedly, and a few surreal and emotionally heightened touches breaking its delicately composed, scoreless aesthetic) and two mesmerizing leads forming almost one symbiotic performance -- that rewards the slow but intricately engaging burn when it ignites and erupts about halfway through. From then on, the atmosphere feels as breathless as their romance in its intensity of discovery and awareness of time running out. And the power of art -- paintings that bring them together, music that speaks for their emotions in the moments, literature symbolic of their relationship -- only strengthens this connection all the more, and also becomes crucial in the end stretch, adding immense impact to both its heartstopping climax and unbearably poignant epilogue (that gorgeous last scene will probably levitate many viewers right out of their seats). When words and distance fail them, art representing the scope of one brightly lit memory will remain. 8.5/10
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  5. #5
    Perfectly captures first love.

  6. #6
    Second star to the right [ETM]'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Novi Sad, Serbia
    Posts
    8,149
    My god, what a thing of utter beauty.

    Sent from my Mi 9 Lite using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Screenwriter
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    2,161
    Watched this a second time, and didn’t expect a significant score leap, which may be the result of finally seeing this on big screen (the mid-film song is quite appropriately thunderous in theater), but I think it’s mostly from a second watch opening it up in some new ways. On first time one can’t help but watch for the story turns, even with as minimal plot a film as this has, so the interest is naturally drawn towards Haenel, the central curiosity for every character (and also director; the knowledge of a relationship between Sciamma and Haenel, ending amicably before shooting Portrait, adds a really powerful layer on how Haenel might be the subject of a memory piece both insides and outsides the film).

    But now that the story is known, I key in more on Merlant, whom I underrated in how all reaction shots and hidden emotions combine into an equally intriguing, poignant portrait. Her character fully complements Haenel's, seemingly more free but still bound by the same suffocating patriarchy, just differently; the way she wades through a crowd of men in her profession, to get to a desired painting, has me recall a bit of The Silence of the Lambs’ elevator scene.

    Merlant coming into equal focus with Haenel for me this time turns the third act from softly poignant to overwhelmingly bittersweet, from the hug with Bajrami’s Sophie onward until the exquisite final shot. As Vivaldi plays, and I flashback on how the couple’s discussion of Orpheus/Eurydice tale might be interpreted upon this last scene, it gives a wholly different context that maybe it’s a choice, not unawareness, to fixate on the music and not turn around, and that realization almost brings to me the same emotions as on Haenel’s face. Marianne takes the poet’s choice to turn around, but Héloïse, especially now that the time for it has passed, makes the lover’s choice, to look forward ahead with the lasting island presence of Marianne behind her always. 9.5/10
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  8. #8
    It's an absorbing and effective liberal tear-jerker that's limited by its compulsive political correctness, which precludes any curiosity about either the baroque period or homosexual relationships with each serving to curtail any real exploration of the other. Since the characters can't up and move to Castro Street (or whatever the Paris equivalent would be), neither they nor the film has to deal with the everyday difficulties of sustaining a relationship over an extended duration of time. (I'm reminded of Art Garfunkel's line in Bad Timing: "If we don't meet, there's always the chance it could have been perfect.") At the same time, the demands of liberal melodrama require that the film deemphasize the remoteness of the baroque period from the present in order to get us to sympathize with the two leads: Both characters were educated in convents, yet not only do neither one of them seem to have any religious convictions, but neither of them even bats at eye before enlisting to participate in a clandestine abortion. By way of contrast, the strangeness of Eugène Green's films--notably, Le Pont des Arts, La Religieuse portugaise, and La sapienza--results from the incongruousness of a baroque sensibility in a contemporary setting, suggesting that weird conservatism makes for better art than bland liberalism.
    Last edited by baby doll; 02-26-2020 at 03:27 AM.
    Just because...
    Cluny Brown (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946) mild
    Gumnaam (Raja Nawathe, 1965) cold
    American Factory (Steven Bognar/Julia Reichert, 2019) cold

    The last book I read was...
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins


    The (New) World

  9. #9
    Second star to the right [ETM]'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Novi Sad, Serbia
    Posts
    8,149
    So... what did you think of the film?

    Sent from my Mi 9 Lite using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Quote Quoting [ETM] (view post)
    So... what did you think of the film?

    Sent from my Mi 9 Lite using Tapatalk
    It's absorbing and effective but overly cautious. The mirror scene is likely an homage to Catherine Breillat's Une vraie jeune fille, where the protagonist expresses disgust over the proximity of her vagina to her face, which makes it all the more disappointing that Sciamma frames her narrative in such a way as to systematically avoid the sort of uncomfortable truths that the more audacious Breillat likes to address head on. It's a lesbian romance for Pete Buttigieg supporters.
    Just because...
    Cluny Brown (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946) mild
    Gumnaam (Raja Nawathe, 1965) cold
    American Factory (Steven Bognar/Julia Reichert, 2019) cold

    The last book I read was...
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins


    The (New) World

  11. #11
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    It's an absorbing and effective liberal tear-jerker that's limited by its compulsive political correctness, which precludes any curiosity about either the baroque period or homosexual relationships with each serving to curtail any real exploration of the other. Since the characters can't up and move to Castro Street (or whatever the Paris equivalent would be), neither they nor the film has to deal with the everyday difficulties of sustaining a relationship over an extended duration of time. (I'm reminded of Art Garfunkel's line in Bad Timing: "If we don't meet, there's always the chance it could have been perfect.") At the same time, the demands of liberal melodrama require that the film deemphasize the remoteness of the baroque period from the present in order to get us to sympathize with the two leads: Both characters were educated in convents, yet not only do neither one of them seem to have any religious convictions, but neither of them even bats at eye before enlisting to participate in a clandestine abortion. By way of contrast, the strangeness of Eugène Green's films--notably, Le Pont des Arts, La Religieuse portugaise, and La sapienza--results from the incongruousness of a baroque sensibility in a contemporary setting, suggesting that weird conservatism makes for better art than bland liberalism.
    If you don't mind my saying so, this is a surprisingly literal read from you.

  12. #12
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    If you don't mind my saying so, this is a surprisingly literal read from you.
    I'm curious what a less literal interpretation would be.
    Just because...
    Cluny Brown (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946) mild
    Gumnaam (Raja Nawathe, 1965) cold
    American Factory (Steven Bognar/Julia Reichert, 2019) cold

    The last book I read was...
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins


    The (New) World

  13. #13
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The Yay Area
    Posts
    5,057
    I haven't seen this yet, but I kinda get where baby doll is coming from. I don't think aggressively transgressive French language filmmakers like Catherine Breillat or even more thorny, complex types like Chantal Akerman fit in with today's woke yas queen feminism in North America. I like Agnes Varda just fine, but there's a reason why she's been adapted as the de rigueur French female filmmaker. Her stuff is charming, accessible, and fits in with idealistic unneurotic feminism. Céline Sciamma might be similar. I've noticed there's lots of external press about this movie. The latest being Adele Haenel storming out of the Cesar Awards (the French Oscars) in protest after Roman Polanski won best director.

    link
    http://f24.my/6EEx
    Last edited by Pop Trash; 02-29-2020 at 12:35 PM.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Da 5 Bloods - 8
    The Vast of Night - 7
    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - 8
    Starship Troopers - 8
    Inception - 8
    California Split - 7
    Back to the Future Part III - 6
    Back to the Future Part II - 7
    Not Another Teen Movie - 7
    Beastie Boys Story - 7

  14. #14
    Screenwriter
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    2,161
    I know it's from you haven't watched them yet, but categorizing the works of Sciamma like that (even with "might" caveat) hurts my brain a bit, ha.

    Haenel is a sexual assault survivor at 15 from her director at the time, so no surprise about her feeling of Polanski there. Her accusation and charge towards that director last year (spurred by, of all things, watching Leaving Neverland) makes her the face of latest #meToo wave in France. Here's her speaking about it last week, including her thought on Polanksi receiving the nomination.

    There is a #MeToo paradox in France: It is one of the countries where the movement was the most closely followed on social media, but from a political perspective and in cultural spheres, France has completely missed the boat.

    Many artists blurred, or wanted to blur, the distinction between sexual behavior and abuse. The debate was centered on the question of [men’s] “freedom to bother,” and on feminists’ purported puritanism. But sexual abuse is abuse, not libertine behavior.

    People are talking about it, though, and #MeToo has left its mark. France is boiling over with questions about it.

    (On Polanski who has been nominated for the Césars) Distinguishing Polanski is spitting in the face of all victims. It means raping women isn’t that bad.
    Apart from that clip of her walking out the ceremony saying "Shame" on the way, here's when she, her director, and her co-star exit the building, with her clapping “Bravo la pédophilie!”

    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  15. #15
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The Yay Area
    Posts
    5,057
    I've seen Tomboy, which I like quite a bit, and I'll be seeing Portrait this week, but they definitely fit in with the Jezebel / HuffPo crowd more than eg. Romance or Fat Girl. Akerman is probably closer to Céline Sciamma (something like Je Tu Il Elle being an early French lesbian film) but she was pretty neurotic and (obviously) suicidal, which sadly she succumbed to eventually and that's not good marketing for STRONG WOMEN.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Da 5 Bloods - 8
    The Vast of Night - 7
    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - 8
    Starship Troopers - 8
    Inception - 8
    California Split - 7
    Back to the Future Part III - 6
    Back to the Future Part II - 7
    Not Another Teen Movie - 7
    Beastie Boys Story - 7

  16. #16
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The Yay Area
    Posts
    5,057
    Great cinematography, great performances, mediocre script. Ironic the one award this got at Cannes is for screenplay since that is the worst aspect of the film. Much of this is very schematic and on-the-nose. Abortion scene? Let's have an infant crawl all over the abortion recipient's upper body. JUXTAPOSITION! The number thing in the painting is pretty bad. Look, I'm not going to fault people for being moved by this. You do you. But I walked out of theater with barely a shoulder shrug. Somehow lots of this feels like too little (the development of their relationship) and way too much (the final shot aching to wring emotion out of the viewer). Give me the "problematic" mind blowing orgasms, never ending pasta scenes, never ending sex scenes, and tears and snot running down your face when in all comes crashing down in Blue is the Warmest Color over this tasteful bore.
    Last edited by Pop Trash; 03-07-2020 at 12:57 PM.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Da 5 Bloods - 8
    The Vast of Night - 7
    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - 8
    Starship Troopers - 8
    Inception - 8
    California Split - 7
    Back to the Future Part III - 6
    Back to the Future Part II - 7
    Not Another Teen Movie - 7
    Beastie Boys Story - 7

  17. #17
    Quote Quoting Pop Trash (view post)
    mediocre script
    seriously, what?

  18. #18
    Screenwriter
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    2,161
    I agree with all those virtues of Blue is the Warmest Color except its one famous sex scene, and that's independent of its "problematic" (read: abusive) aspect too, because its smoothed-over, softcore aesthetics clashes loudly with the exquisite messy realism before and after. With the film's controversy and his films after, that scene now feels to be borne out of the director's own perviness rather than any artistry too, unless the artistry is of a softcore porn. In fact, I would argue that, if one must be in the reductive comparison mood, the latter makes Kechiche the more tasteful one when it comes to sex scene, since it's straight up lesbian porn delivery without the messiness of his own aesthetic around the scene or of Sciamma's straightforward look at female bodies.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  19. #19
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    29,124
    BITWC's sex scene is undeniably long, but I'll give that movie the better acting and overall movie the win.

    Black Narcissus - ****
    Come and See - ****
    Never Rarely Sometimes Always - ** 1/2


    twitter

  20. #20
    La Vie d'Adèle is boring and Kechiche doesn't know when his scenes are supposed to end. That said, I'm curious about his four-hour ass-shaking movie: Either it'll be the worst thing ever or some kind of weird artistic breakthrough that will retroactively justify the apparent self-indulgence of his earlier films.
    Just because...
    Cluny Brown (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946) mild
    Gumnaam (Raja Nawathe, 1965) cold
    American Factory (Steven Bognar/Julia Reichert, 2019) cold

    The last book I read was...
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins


    The (New) World

  21. #21
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    9,489
    Well, unsurprisingly a lot of the conversation around this film seems to center on external aspects that have nothing to do with film. It's not like those things aren't worth discussing but they seem to completely overshadow the discussion of the film itself. I for one thought it was a beautiful and effective love story, some lines of dialogue resonated powerfully with me and, yeah, baby doll is right to an extent, there are a lot of contemporary attitudes in the characters that don't seem to truthfully reflect what living in the XVIIIth century must have been like. But, whatever, Sciamma is on her right to portray History however the fuck she wants to. There was no rap music in the American West and yet we have Django Unchained, right? I don't see how this film would benefit from being more historically genuine. A lot of shots are aesthetically gorgeous and play with light and color in a way not many films dare to.

    By the way, Noémie Merlant is the spitting image of Argentine actress Pilar Gamboa. They are basically the same person except for the color of their eyes. It's uncanny.




    Last edited by Grouchy; 04-03-2020 at 02:05 PM.

  22. #22
    Cya all later MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    20,000
    This flick grew on me pretty quickly even if some of the subject matter is "'Been there, done that." I liked the outdoor shots and both leads were great imo-especially Noémie Merlant. I also liked the ending as a nice little coda.

  23. #23
    I think this film is perfect. Most enrapturing cinematic experience in a while.
    letterboxd.

    A Star is Born (2018) **1/2
    Unforgiven (1992) ***1/2
    The Sisters Brothers (2018) **
    Crazy Rich Asians (2018) ***
    The Informant! (2009) ***1/2
    BlacKkKlansman (2018) ***1/2
    Sorry to Bother You (2018) **1/2
    Eighth Grade (2018) ***
    Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018) ***
    Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018) **1/2

  24. #24
    Cinematographer Idioteque Stalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,359
    Quote Quoting DavidSeven (view post)
    I think this film is perfect. Most enrapturing cinematic experience in a while.
    Same. Just received my Criterion Blu-ray and am so pumped to watch again.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
An forum