Press release: NEON and The Criterion Collection are excited to announce the addition of Céline Sciamma’s award winning, Portrait of a Lady on Fire to The Criterion Collection library. The Cannes winner was recently nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Language Film, nominated by the Hollywood Critics Association for Best Foreign Language Film and was awarded Best Cinematography by the New York Film Critics. Matthew St. Clair called it an "immensely well-crafted" film in his review.
Set in France, 1760, Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. 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 testament to their love.
Peter Becker, President of The Criterion Collection remarked, "Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire took our breath away when we first saw it at Telluride, and we are ecstatic that we will be able to give the film the loving special edition treatment it deserves."
NEON added, “We couldn’t be more thrilled that our first collaboration with The Criterion Collection is Céline’s breathtakingly beautiful and utterly captivating Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”
Portrait of a Lady on Fire debuted at Cannes where it won the Best Screenplay award and has since gone one to play at festivals across the country to standing ovations and multiple jury awards. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is being hailed by critics as the best film to emerge this fall, earning 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. NEON released the film in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, December 6th.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire was written and directed by Céline Sciamma and features extraordinary performances by Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel in a timeless and singularly provocative love story.