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PRODUCTION France

Céline Sciamma finally in the Cannes competition with Portrait of a Lady on Fire

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- The French filmmaker will be duking it out for the Palme d’Or for the first time with this Lilies Films production being sold by mk2 Films

Céline Sciamma finally in the Cannes competition with Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Adèle Haenel in Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Twelve years after she unveiled her feature debut, Water Lilies [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, on the Croisette, as part of the Un Certain Regard programme (the movie also took home the Louis Delluc Award for Best Debut Film the same year and was nominated for the César Award in the same category in 2008), French filmmaker Céline Sciamma is back in the Official Selection, but this time in the most prominent showcase that the major international film gathering has to offer, as she will be in contention for the Palme d’Or at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival (14-25 May).

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The 40-year-old director has enjoyed a regular ascent to the upper echelons of the international film world, as her second feature, Tomboy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
, was presented in the Berlinale Panorama in 2011, before Girlhood [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
 was chosen as the opening film of the 2014 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight (also garnering four nominations for the 2018 César Awards, most notably in the Best Director category; in addition, the movie was given quite a boost after Rihanna offered Sciamma the rights to use her song “Diamonds” free of charge). Having graduated from the screenplay department of the Paris-based La Fémis film school, the director also demonstrated the extent of her creative range when she won the 2017 César Award for Best Adaptation and the Lumières Award for Best Screenplay for the animated film My Life as a Courgette [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Claude Barras
film profile
]

With Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
, the director-screenwriter is shunning the modern world for the first time, delving into the late 18th century, on a remote island in Brittany where a painter is commissioned to paint a young woman’s wedding portrait. Interestingly, for this film, Céline Sciamma worked with DoP Claire Mathon (nominated for the César Award in her respective category in 2014 for Stranger by the Lake [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alain Guiraudie
film profile
]
) for the first time.

Standing out among the cast are Noémie Merlant (nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actress and for the Lumières Award for Best New Actress in 2017 for Heaven Will Wait [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Adèle Haenel (who rose to fame in Water Lilies, securing a nomination for the César Award for Most Promising Actress in 2008 to boot; winner of the César Award for Best Actress in 2015 for Love at First Fight [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Thomas Cailley
film profile
]
 and for the César Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2014 for Suzanne [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Katell Quillévéré
film profile
]
; we will also be seeing her in another movie at Cannes this year, Deerskin [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Quentin Dupieux
film profile
]
, the opening film of the Directors’ Fortnight), Luàna Bajrami (School’s Out [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sébastien Marnier
film profile
]
) and Italy’s Valeria Golino (currently gracing screens in Casanova, Last Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
).

Produced by Bénédicte Couvreur (who has partnered up with the director many times) for Lilies FilmsPortrait of a Lady on Fire had a budget of €4.86 million, including a co-production (and a pre-purchase) from Arte France Cinéma. The feature, which is also being co-produced by Hold Up Films, was pre-purchased by Canal+ and Ciné+. The French theatrical release will be handled by Pyramide Distribution, and the international sales are being overseen by mk2 Films. The feature has already been pre-purchased for the UK (Curzon Artificial Eye), Spain (Karma Films), Belgium and the Netherlands (Cinéart), Sweden (Folkets Bio), the former Yugoslavia (MegaCom), and Argentina and Chile (Impacto Cine), among other territories.

(Translated from French)

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