Health and Safety
Event hero image

French Women Filmmakers • Céline Sciamma

  • Thursday, June 13 • 6:30 p.m.

  • Free for members and students* • $15 Non-Members

  • On Site - Enter via 54 W. Chicago Ave

  • In French with English subtitles

This event has passed

Cet évènement est passé


Portrait de la jeune fille en feu / Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma, 2019, 131 min, France)

“Passion brews quietly between an artist and her subject, until together they create a space in which it can briefly flourish, in this sumptuous eighteenth-century romance from Céline Sciamma, one of contemporary French cinema’s most acclaimed auteurs.” - Criterion

“Without showing men onscreen, Portrait of a Lady on Fire depicts the myriad ways in which the patriarchy constricts the lives of its female protagonists” - The New Yorker.

A cliché in detective fiction, “look for the woman” means to look for the source of mayhem to solve the mystery… This is exactly what we’ve done – look for la femme behind the camera to bring you the most memorable films made by women from France and beyond.

Summoned to an isolated seaside estate on a secret assignment, Marianne must find a way to paint a wedding portrait of Héloïse, who is resisting chattel marriage, by furtively observing her. What unfolds in exquisite tension is an exchange of sustained gazes in which the two women come to know each other’s gestures, expressions, and bodies with rapturous intimacy, ultimately forging a subversive creative collaboration as well as a delirious romance. 

Charged with a yearning that almost transcends time and space, Portrait of a Lady on Fire mines the emotional and artistic possibilities that emerge when women can freely live together and see one another in a world without men.

Sciamma won Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival for the film, becoming the first female director to win the latter award.

With a complimentary glass of Bourgogne Louis Jadot. Enter a chance to win Sofitel’s Le Bar gift certificate at this screening!

Post-screening discussion with Nick Davis, Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies at Northwestern University. Series curated by Nick Davis, Aimée Laberge and Paprika Bonnin-Occansey

* Entrée Libre for students with ID on-site/.edu addresses online. High school, college or university.

About Céline Sciamma

Céline Sciamma was born in France in 1978. She studied French literature at Paris West University Nanterre and subsequentsly film at La Fémis film school from 2001-2005, majoring in screenwriting. A screenwriter and lecturer, she scored an international theatrical hit in 2007 with her directorial debut, Water Lilies, which premiered in Cannes. Tomboy, her second feature film won 4 prizes among which the Teddy Jury Award at the 2024 Berlinale.

Céline Sciamma is considered today as the most visible, important feminist and lesbian, director in contemporary international filmmaking. Her fourth feature, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2019, and intervened directly in debates about the female gaze, sexuality, and specifically how to look at and make a portrait of young women. In her approach to female, non-binary and queer identities, she has focused on the need for agency, binding this imperative into her aesthetic choices and modes of filmmaking. This is the first book-length study of Sciamma’s films, focusing on the relationship of her work to the visual arts, and exploring the relevance of feminist theory to her unique perspective. - Edinburgh University Press

Trailer here

Our event partners


Share this page