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Neon Positions ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ in Awards Season Prime Time

The period romance is a strong candidate to be France's Oscar submission for Best International Feature.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”


Céline Sciamma’s Cannes Screenplay-winner “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” an 18th-century lesbian bodice-ripper that scored among the best reviews at the May festival, is a likely candidate for France’s submission for the Best International Feature Oscar. That said, it will face stiff competition for France’s slot from two other Cannes prize-winners, Mati Diop’s “Atlantics” and Ladj Ly’s “Les Misérables.” In any case, Neon will release the film in Los Angeles and New York on December 6, at the height of the awards season.

The theatrical distributor did well at Cannes, beating out Netflix and others on the popular title, partnering with Hulu to acquire North American rights. Neon picked up the eventual Palme d’Or winner, Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite,” ahead of the festival; that film is dated October 11. Expect both films to play the fall film festival circuit.

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”


Adèle Haenel (“The Unknown Girl”) and Noémie Merlant (“Heaven Will Wait”) star as two women who break free of societal constraints in the film, which was inspired by Jane Campion’s “The Piano.”  The Lilies Film production is produced by Bénédicte Couvreur, with mk2 films selling worldwide.

Neon nabbed an Oscar nomination for “Border,” Sweden‘s entry for best foreign language film, and has three 2019 documentaries in theaters: Todd Douglas Miller’s big-screen epic “Apollo 11” ($8 million domestic), John Chester’s “The Biggest Little Farm” ($1.2 million domestic) and Aretha Franklin concert film “Amazing Grace” ($4 million domestic).

Upcoming releases include Alejandro Landes’ “Monos,” starring Julianne Nicholson; Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska’s documentary “Honeyland”; Chinonye Chukwu’s “Clemency,” starring Alfre Woodard; Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s horror film “The Lodge”; Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters; and Julius Onah’s “Luce.”

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