“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

Set in 18th-century France on a small island off the coast of Brittany, Portrait of a Lady on Fire brings together two women from very different backgrounds. Marianne is a working-class, portrait artist who has been brought to an isolated island to paint Héloïse, a young noblewoman who has recently left the convent. Héloïse is brought to the island by her mother, a countess who is marrying Héloïse off to an Italian nobleman. Because she is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. Héloïse’s portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and a testament to their love. 

France; Rated R; Directed by Celine Sciamma (2019); 122 minutes; in French and Italian with English subtitles

Click here to read a transcript of Dr. John Pfeifer’s accompanying lecture.
Click here for large-print version.


Registration is required. After you register, you will be emailed a confirmation from a service called Eventbrite. On the day of the event, a link to access the film will be emailed to you 30 minutes prior to the scheduled screening time. The viewing is time-sensitive. The link will activate on Tuesday, July 14 at 7pm and will expire on Wednesday, July 15 at 6pm.