It’s been a few months since we saw Portrait of a Lady on Fire, but it’s a movie that has lingered long in the memory, in what was undoubtedly one of the real highlights on last year’s festival circuit. We had the pleasure of meeting the two leading actresses, Noémie Merlant and Adéle Haenel as well as the genius behind the lens, Céline Sciamma.

With the lead stars we spoke about the brilliance of Sciamma’s screenplay, as well as how refreshing it is to see a film from the female gaze. Haénel also tells us whether she was allowed to keep any of the paintings made of her, and whether they each took home a souvenir from this experience. They also talk about staying in France to make films, and whether they believe it to be an industry that creates good roles for women.

With Sciamma, we speak about the lack of information available for female painters from this time period, and what it is about ‘first love’ stories that appeal to her as a filmmaker. She also talks about the challenges of making a period drama, and why she opted for no music in the film. Lastly she comments on the casting of the two leads, and whether she was moved on set from their astonishing performances.

Watch the full interviews below:


France, 1770. Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day, to paint her secretly.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is out in cinemas on February 28th