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‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ Review: A Brush With Passion

‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ Review: A Brush With Passion

Apart from brief sequences at the beginning and end that frame the main narrative — most of what we see is, in effect, a flashback from Marianne’s point of view — the film never leaves the house and its surroundings. Once the boatman has dropped Marianne off on the beach, men disappear altogether. Male power is still a presence, but no one is around to enforce the rules of patriarchy. When Héloïse’s mother goes on a trip, Héloïse, Marianne and Sophie quietly remake the house into a place of solidarity rather than hierarchy. They play cards, share meals and discuss the meaning of the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice.

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The full significance of that myth — an archetypal tale of devotion and loss — becomes clear later on. It’s the story of an artist, and also about the dangerous, irresistible power of looking. And while Mariann

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Written by CinemaScoops

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