Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★★

Where do I even begin? This is not a film. This is an experience. You can't just watch this film. You need to live it.

The cinematography is excellent. Each frame is a piece of art and contains some sort of poetic imagery that helps further convey the characters' emotion and motivation. Every captivating shot has meaning and purpose and nothing feels out of place. It captures the feeling of being trapped extremely well.

There's only a few people cast for this film and their performances are all fantastic. They all work so well together and are written so well to where you can actually receive so much emotional depth and understanding from each of them.

The sound design is some of the best I've heard from a majority of films I've seen. From a brush on a canvas, the sound of fabrics rubbing together, etc. I would say I liked the score but in actuality, there's barely a score to the film. That's because of how the film implements its presentation of memory. Just the pure spaciousness and lack of detail in a given moment, because that's how memory functions. When there IS a number, it’s bombastic and perfectly in tune. For example when Marianna was having an extreme emotional epiphany at that moment and it’s all about her subjective understanding and/or emotional interpretation of the moment. I think this is why the ghost of Héloïse appears occasionally. It’s because that last memory of Héloïse was connected to certain other moments with her. The film feels like a much more subtle version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in regards to how it discusses this topic.

I think there's much more I could talk about but I wanted to keep this review short. Perhaps I may delve into further analysis whenever I give this the right amount of rewatches, but for now I'm keeping it there. The movie is so mesmerizing and the final shot alone was a twist I didn't expect. Check this out whenever you can.

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