Noovie's Alt. Movies: Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The French Dispatch

Here's the latest on what's new, what's next, and what you should watch this week from across the indie scene.

Matt Lissauer

By Matt Lissauer

portrait of a lady on fire painting

Here's your weekly round up all the fresh lo-fi movie news and trailers not tied to mega-franchises or superheroes.

Alt Movie Pick of the Week - "Portrait of a Lady on Fire"
© Neon / courtesy Everett Collection

© Neon / courtesy Everett Collection

Who's in it?

Noemie Merlant, Adele Haenel. Written and directed by Celine Sciamma.

What's it about?

In the 1770s, the young daughter of a French countess develops a relationship with the painter hired to paint her wedding portrait.

What's the buzz?

Just in time for Valentine's Day, we revisit a previous romantic Alt. Movie Pick as it expands to select theaters nationwide. Since it's premiere at last year's Cannes Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Screenplay, "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" has been generating its fair share of critical praise. Céline Sciamma's story about an unspoken romance that defied conventions became a dark-horse contender throughout the awards season, picking up 10 award nominations, including being nominated for Best International Film at the Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards and the BAFTAs. But this was a year dominated by the juggarnaut that was (and still is) "Parasite," and Neon (distributor of both films) put all their award campaigning efforts behind Bong Joon Ho's contemporary mystery. Never the less, "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," still nabbed four honors from various film critic societies in New York, London and Los Angeles, and it was also named named one of the best foriegn language films from the National Board of Review. Much of the plaudits went to Claire Mathon, for her warm and intimate cinematography.

Who's it for?

Subtle and intimate, "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" is a moving study of a relationship that is of our time, yet still feels rightfully in place in the time in which it's set. Praise has gone all around, from the performances of the two leads – Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel – to Céline Sciamma's artful direction and screenplay, and Mathon's camera work. If you're worried about sitting through a period piece with subtitles (you sat through "Parasite," right?), you needn't worry. As A.A. Dowd of AV Club assured, "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" is "[f]ar from some stuffy costume drama, it's a deeply stirring romance with a modern soul, and also a forcefully, compassionately feminist one." "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" currently holds a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

Beyond the Theater: New Indies Now Streaming on a Platform Near You

Noovie's Streaming Pick: A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon - When an alien crash lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, Shaun the Sheep makes a new friend. But, he soon has to protect his ally from an evil organization out to capture the extraterrestrial.

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You - In this follow-up to Netflix's hit 2018 rom-com, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) finds herself in a love triangle as another recepient of one of her old love letters enters the picture.

Buffaloed - Looking for an escape from her life, a young woman (Zoey Deutch) becomes a debt collector.

Come As You Are - In this remake of a 2011 Flemish film, a nurse takes three disabled men on a road trip to a Montreal brothel to help them lose their virginity.

The Rest of Us - When her ex-husband suddenly dies, a divorced mother and daughter lets his much younger second wife and second daughter stay under her roof as they face repossession of their house.

VFW - It's a war of generations as vets protect a young girl from a group of young punks who decend upon a VFW.

Indie News Flash

Here's your run-down of the freshest indie news and fun features on cinematic classics that hit the web this week.

'Perfect' Follow-Up for Olivia Wilde - The actress-turned-filmmaker's next project will be "Perfect," a biopic about Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug, who is best known for her vault performance at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, which she completed on a broken ankle. This past year, Wilde won Best First Feature at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards for her breakout hit, "Booksmart," and also coincidentally co-starred in "Richard Jewell," about the more infamous bombing and aftermath that occurred at the very same Olympics. The Wrap

The Best Rom-Coms of All Time - Just in time for Valentine's Day, the staff of Indiewire unveil their list of the 50 greatest romantic comedies of all time. Indiewire

Neon's Oscar Success - With its four historic wins, "Parasite" and director Bong Joon Ho had a big night last Sunday at the Oscars. But, it was just as big a night for upstart New York indie studio, Neon, the distributor behind the South Korean satirical thriller. Here's how the studio went all in on the foreign film and won. Los Angeles Times

Go Behind Taika Waititi's Oscar Win - Variety talks to the "Jojo Rabbit" writer and director on the heels of his Oscar win for Best Adapted Screenplay. Variety

Coronavirus to Impact Berlin Film Festival - The 70th Berlin International Film Festival – which kicks off next week, on February 20th – confirmed that there have already been more than 60 cancellations due to the deadly Coronavirus. Most of the cancellations come from Chinese delegates. Deadline

Portrait of a Lady on Fire Poster

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Drama / 2019 / R

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About the Author

Matt Lissauer

Matt Lissauer

Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.

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