2. Painting the Abortion
Portrait of a Lady on Fire is about women. Women’s lives, women’s creativity, women’s experiences. Marianne and Héloïse see Sophie’s (Luàna Bajrami) experience of receiving a termination as important enough to document. The exact experience shared by so many women that male creators will have overlooked for centuries.
There are no words as the three women instinctively decide to recreate the moment. There is no direct acknowledgment of the importance of what they are doing.
1. Page 28
Marianne is at an art show displaying her work – under her father’s name, obviously – when she realises that a portrait of Héloïse is part of the exhibit. The shock of seeing Héloïse portrayed with a child is soon superseded by the book she is holding.
Héloïse has her finger in a book, clearly saving the page 28. The page on which Marianne’s nude self-portrait exists, drawn during the peak of their romance.
It is a clear message that Héloïse still loves and thinks about Marianne. It is sad, poignant and beautiful.
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In a film with so many touching and deeply profound moments, it is difficult to select just 10 as the very best. Which moments did you find most romantic or tragic? Which moments stuck with you? Let everyone know in the comments below, and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook and X (Twitter) for more insightful movie lists.