Review: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and Q&A with Céline Sciamma

“It’s done,” Céline Sciamma said through laughter, “I don’t need your approval!” Ten minutes earlier, a lengthy applause break punctuated the film screening and Sciamma was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation. Sitting in a folding director’s chair on-stage in the sold-out Music Box Theater in Chicago, IL, Sciamma shared insights on the filmmaking process during a question and answer session with the audience. The early pre-screening of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019) was part of a press tour preceding the films wide release in the United States.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 48: Appropriate Behavior

Heartbreak is the worst, and heartbreak in New York City is a crime against the universe. All it takes is a little New York ingenuity, some comic misadventures, and then everything will come back together again, right? That’s how it works in a romantic comedy! But what about when the star of our romantic comedy isn’t just a typical New York artist? What about when she’s bisexual out of work journalist, when she’s the daughter of traditional Iranian immigrants, and when she’s determined to get back together with her ex-girlfriend?

The Matrix: Trans Empowerment

The year was 1999. I was but a mere six years old then, but I remember vividly the release of such monumental films as Stanley Kubrick’s "Eyes Wide Shut", Paul Thomas Anderson’s behemoth masterpiece, "Magnolia", and the first return of "Star Wars" in nearly 20 years, "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace". Amongst the litany of great films that year, another had come along, rich with unique tension and flavor, destined to change the very fabric of action films and blockbusters forever. The Matrix.

In Their Own League Hall of Fame: Dorothy Arzner

There are many great female directors who have broken barriers in the industry and paved the way for future generations. One of those women (who is often forgotten outside of academia) was Dorothy Arzner. She is the most prolific female director to date, was the first woman to direct a film with sound, and was the first female member of the Directors Guild of America.

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