‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ Cinematography: The Perfect 18th Century Digital Painting

‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ Cinematography: The Perfect 18th Century Digital Painting
When director Céline Sciamma envisioned the sea-wind swept Brittany that defines the setting and atmosphere of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” she imagined something quite different than what she got.

“We went there because we wanted the grey sky, and it was very sunny,” said Sciamma. “And we felt, ‘Ok, it’s a blessing for the film.’ It should be luminous.”

The challenge for Sciamma and cinematographer Claire Mathon then became how to bring that luminous light back to the film’s interior scenes. While the film takes place in Brittany, where they shot many exteriors, much of the action centers inside an 18th-century castle. They found a perfect specimen: Unlike many other estates scouted for the film, this one, located in a Parisian suburb, hadn’t been restored, or used for weddings and lavish events. It had largely gone untouched, with paint, color, texture and a weathered facade that was perfect.
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