Portrait de la jeune fille en feu

La bretonne est charmante seulement pendant les années qui terminent en 19.

It does what it sets out to: fuck up your chance of enjoying museums.
Reported on 11th of December, 2019

Well, I’m writing my second piece, and it turns out I was correct about energy conservation. The script-writing was all I could do mentally, and now that I’m in break phase, I can do other things. Mentally! Writing on that level meant not writing this, which is fair since this, paying nothing, pays more.

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu

21 September 2019 @ The Gaumont Rennes

$19.50 or, if one must be quotidian, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

§  §  §


In the spirit of preserving precious brain power (despite all the sugar I feed it), I’m going to make a rule. 2019 is terrible, the worst year in cinema history (as we see with the critics praising the not just horrible, but straight-up shitty filmmaking of The Irishman and Once Upon a Time… In Retro Ellipses!).

So the rule, which is true and observational, and in no way an exhausted attempt to sense of the impossibly non-sensical, is that 2019 is an inverted year. This is because the only great film of the year Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, is about Breton women. Female led films set in Brittany (La Fille de Brest, et Fleur de Tonnere) are always bad, but in 2019, they’re wonderful.

That doesn’t mean you can make films about killing dogs and getting away with it. I wouldn’t even be saying this to tempt you, but it’s December 11th. Fassbinder’s dead; you can make a movie in 10 days, but you’ll never have the ad space in time.

In reviewing my notes, since it’s been a while, the film is great, but does not start well. Like its inferior – Heaven’s Gate – is best understood as a graph over time.

Remember, Chronicle, with the slight alteration, this counts as parody, and is protected free speech. That being said, I’ll give up all amendment rights if it meant going up in readership.

Starting at the end and flashing back to years earlier, I felt in trouble, and the films takes an unnecessary while to get to the first turn; the artist (Mme. Noémie Merlant), hired to paint sig.ra Valeria Golino’s daughter (Mme. Adèle Hænel) as a wedding present, burns her first product, because of how it is received by not by her patron, but by the daughter, her subject.

It’s a nice reasoning, irrational and believable. We wake up. It’s kind of all uphill from there. This is especially in light of two things: one, the unfortunateness of what is being singled out, see above. This film was at Cannes, assholes, and you couldn’t mention it? It wins the award that counts – best screenplay – but you singled out Parasite and not this? And two, it came out four days ago in the US. For my readership (note that I did not say readersship), I will try to avoid talking about it too much and just recommend the film vehemently.

Well, it’s finally happened, they’ve updated to ticket machines so the tickets suck. Also, they have these massive portrait touchscreens, so you have to choose films in front of everyone. What if you wanted to see… Right. The title of the blog.

The story works, and I cried three good times. The graph is here to tell you to stick with it, yet another reason I try to see films in the theater. There are things (like Mme. Hænel’s running away for screenwriter’s reason) which turn out to pay off.

Beyond the story, there’s an unveiling of an unseen and richly populated world. Even at the beginning: the simple act of getting somewhere by boat (the wonderful Saint-Pierre Quiberon, come out and see it!), and the fact that it could kill you. Or getting pregnant, and the fact that it could kill you.

It reminds me – as much as Dorothée hates the film – of Sisters’ Brothers, in that it’s a glimpse into a – this time women’s – world of that era. There’s no sense of underlining of issues or how it should be, because it knows showing the horror and the characters’ calm and sad acceptance is the politics. And, from a film watcher’s point of view, the power of it. It does what it sets out to: fuck up your chance of enjoying museums.

The Take

I’ve said as much as I could without giving a bunch of stuff away, but one thing in my notes. In the world populated by women, when a man finally does arrive, it is a shock. Meaning to, but not needing to be.
All that stuff I said
Total Profits
Reduction in loss for slow beginning because of subsequent payoff
The last shot is exactly 12 seconds too long. It reminds me a bit of Magnolia, you got the audience, don’t oversell it. This is for Mme. Céline Sciamma’s benefit only. You can ignore it.
Total Losses


Thoughts on Portrait de la jeune fille en feu

  1. Dorothée says:

    It’s a masterpiece, a Masterpiece!
    You really didn’t say very much did you? I think this is a beautiful film about love and it focuses on female oppression , violence and abuse to women and you could have mentioned the interesting parallel with the film and the Pandora‘s box recently opened ( humanity should thank her for that) by its heroine Adèle Haenel without giving much away. Sciamma made this film for her former partner with her real life abuse in mind. I won’t say more about that, not yet anyway.

    Je trouve que ce film rend au contraire tous les musées encore plus fascinants:-)

    1. Scott Scott says:

      C’est parce qu’il montre les motivations derrière un tableau d’une femme qui te regarde, ceux-ci dans tous les musées du monde.

      I didn’t say much in the hopes that people will see it. I don’t think it’s a masterpiece, but I do think it’s great. I’m not big on real life, in so many different ways. Whatever the motivations (hah!), what you’re talking about is in the film, and there’s a kind of attenuation when you know going in. imco.

      Sorry that’s ‘In My Correct Opinion’

  2. Sarah E Sullivan says:

    I’m just so glad you’re back!

    1. Scott Scott says:

      Me too! As long as my brain power doesn’t wear out. Probably need another cake.

      Look! There it is!

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