Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (2019) ★★★★★

The artist should paint not only what he has in front of him but also what he sees inside himself.”

~ Caspar David Friedrich
„Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” Caspar David Friedrich, 1818

The most recognized symbol of Romanticism, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog”, portrays a forlorn silhouette on top of a rocky precipice, surrounded by the murky landscape. The fog intermingles with the sky and erases the earthly limits, simultaneously evoking the feelings of grand solemnity and overwhelming uncertainty. This masterpiece emphasizes the significance of an individual while celebrating the unmatched beauty of nature, thus connecting transience and eternity. There is a similar scene in the film when Héloïse stands alone on the beach with her back turned to the viewers. Although this moment of solitude may seem visually appealing and thoroughly serene, it accompanies the outbreak of electrifying tension. This duality is manifested through the vibrant colours, as well as the contrast between the lightness of the sea foam and the darkness of the rocks, enclosing Héloïse, as if impersonating the obstacles emerging before the lovers. She is searching for a clear answer, but the future is vague and unsettled, like the azure waves crashing against the cliffs before her eyes.

„Miranda” John William Waterhouse, 1875

In William Shakespeare’s renowned play, “The Tempest”, the young, naive Miranda is trapped on an isolated island with only her father and a servant to keep her company. Similarly, Héloïse has a cloistered upbringing, living away from civilization with her imperious mother (Valeria Golino) and their maid Sophie (Luàna Bajrami). The destiny of both Miranda and Héloïse is predetermined; they are to be married off as their parents see fit. The literary parallelism of these plots expands into artistic imagery: Waterhouse depicts Miranda gazing at the elusive horizon as the waves break on the desolate shore, and her cinematic counterpart performs the same act of utter yearning. When Marianne asked her, whether she wanted to die, Héloïse confessed that for a long time running was her desire, rather than dying. Is it possible to run away from one’s fate, to delay it, even if for a fleeting moment? Or will the escape be equal to death?

„Ampio Orizzonte” Ettore Tito, 1910

The name of this painting can be translated as “Broad Horizon”, accentuating the vastness of the billowy seascape, framed by the figures of two young women in the flowing white clothing. Not unlike the heroines of the art piece, Marianne and Héloïse admire the picturesque view, but both the picture and the shot convey an unfathomable longing – it is, perhaps, the void between the women, aching to be filled; as if an extended hand would magically restore the fragile balance. So, the viewer is left silently begging for the impossible, waiting for them to come closer and whispering “turn around…

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