Women's History Month

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Director: Céline Sciamma

2020, France, 119 minutes, Digital, R

French, with English subtitles

Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luana Bajrami, Valeria Golino

In the Pop-up

Distributor: NEON

France, 1760. Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Because she is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. Héloïse’s portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.

“A subtle and thrilling love story, at once unsentimental in its realistic assessment of women’s circumstances and almost utopian in its celebration of the freedom that is nonetheless available to them.” – A. O. Scott, The New York Times

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Guest Speaker Q&A

Saturday, February 29 after the 7:30 pm screening of Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Martha Nell Smith
Professor, Department of English, University of Maryland

Far ahead of the curve on the possibilities of digitally-born critical inquiries, Martha Nell Smith has been leading the way toward a new age of textual scholarship. After beginning the Dickinson Electronic Archives in 1997 and serving as the founding director for the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities in 1999, Smith became a luminary in the world of digital humanities. Her latest contribution to Dickinson digital scholarship, Emily Dickinson’s Corresponsdences: A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry (University of Virginia Rotunda Press, 2008) is a collaboration with Maryland PhD alumna Lara Vetter. This new collection gives scholars unprecedented access to an incredible body of writings by Emily Dickinson and Susan Dickinson, allowing users to search by date, genre, manuscript features, and full text. Her commitment to the classrooms wins equal praise from students and colleagues, leading to her appointment as a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the university.


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