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Céline Sciamma explains Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s mythic theme and ‘Criterion and chill’

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The film’s allusions to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice came late in the game

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Upon its debut at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire won the festival’s award for Best Screenplay as well as the Queer Palm for its tender depiction of a love affair between two women in late 18th century France.

The film now comes to the Criterion Collection with a brand new set of special features, including a conversation between Sciamma and film critic Dana Stevens. In this exclusive clip, Sciamma explains just why the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice became such a prominent part of the film, as well as her desire to include a “Netflix and chill” (or “Criterion and chill,” as she adds) scene for the three main characters.

The complete list of special features available on the Criterion Collection release are as follows:

  • New 4K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between director Céline Sciamma and film critic Dana Stevens
  • New interviews with actors Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant
  • Interview with cinematographer Claire Mathon from the 2019 Cannes Film Festival
  • Interview from 2019 with artist Hélène Delmaire on creating the paintings for the film
  • An essay by film critic Ela Bittencourt

The Criterion Collection Blu-ray of Portrait of a Lady on Fire is out now.


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First Cow

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Prices taken at time of publishing.

Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow finally arrives on VOD. The film stars John Magaro and Orion Lee as two men struggling to make their way through the American West, and Evie as the cow who provides them with the milk to begin a small baking business.

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