After missing out as France’s entry for the country’s Best International Film berth at this year’s Oscars, Céline Sciamma’s lauded period romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is pursuing a new release plan. While cinephiles in New York and Los Angeles will still be able to see the Cannes contender in theaters on December 6, as originally planned, the film will now roll out in wide release on Valentine’s Day 2020, all the better to capture audiences hungry for an emotional and enthralling romance to savor on a holiday dedicated to love.
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” will be available for an exclusive one-week run in New York (at the Angelika) and Los Angeles (at the Arclight in Hollywood) starting on Friday, December 6. Two months later, it will go into wide release on Friday, February 14, when it will be available everywhere.
Neon’s official synopsis for “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” reads: “In 18th century France a young painter, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) without her knowing. Therefore, Marianne must observe her model by day to paint her portrait at night. Day by day, the two women become closer as they share Héloïse’s last moments of freedom before the impending wedding.”
IndieWire has named “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” not only one of the year’s best movies but also one of the best films of the decade (just under the wire!). Senior film critic David Ehrlich writes, “Céline Sciamma’s most perfect and powerful film to date came as something of a curveball when it premiered at Cannes earlier this year. Austere where ‘Tomboy’ was anxious, and hesitant where ‘Girlhood’ was rash, ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ is the first of Sciamma’s movies that could be described as ‘classical’ in any sense of the word. While all of her earlier offerings have told profound and tender stories of self-discovery and the images that women project, this film is more concerned with the ones they leave behind, and how stunning they can be when they aren’t forced through male filters.”
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” won the Queer Palm prize and was awarded Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival. Neon picked it up at the festival, adding it to an enviable list of big contenders, including Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” and documentaries like “Apollo 11,” “The Biggest Little Farm,” and “Honeyland.”
Check out the newest teaser for the lush period romance, exclusively on IndieWire, below.