'Portrait Of A Lady On Fire' Trailer: Céline Sciamma's Acclamed Drama Explores A Forbidden Romance

The story has been done before: an artist is commissioned to do a portrait, and falls in love with their subject. Don't expect to get the same ol' thing from Girlhood director Céline Sciamma's searing romance, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which premiered at Cannes to rave reviews and wins for Queer Palm and Best Screenplay. Neon picked up the rights with plans to drop it in the thick of awards season, and now those of us who didn't attend the festival are getting a glimpse at what all of the buzz was about.

Set in 18th-century France, the searing romance follows "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.”

Of course, the relationship that forms between them is forbidden and must be kept secret. There's a thread of rebellion and emotional exploration in Ciamma's films, but 'Portrait' is polished and austere where Girlhood was brash and confrontational.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire opens on December 6th.