Back to Sciamma. A painter studies her sitter and the sitter studies the painter- and they fall in love. This is 18th century France and the rules of class and gender are against them but they're on an island, authority has been withdrawn- and they have the inside of a week to celebrate the mysteries. Sciamma watches from close quarters, registering every glance and half smile- and her two actors- Noemie Merlant and Adele Haenal- are remarkable. The movie isn't just a romance- because that would be boring- though it's that as well- and things transpire that are, funny, astonishing, startling, and heart-wrenchingly sad. The cinematography by Claire Mathon is luminously beautiful.
The French revolution is what, twenty years away? That long! Really it can't come too soon...
Footnote 1: Where do you find a painter who can paint in the style of a mid-18th century neo-classicist? Answer: Don't bother, because if they could manage it they'd be deep undercover making millions on the forgery circuit pretending to be Jacques-Louis David. It's the one thing in the movie that's slightly off-key that the paintings never look anything other than 20th century.
Never mind, costume dramas are never really about the past but always about the now.
Footnote 2: Sciamma and Haemal were in the audience when Polanski got given a Palme d'Or - and caused a stir by marching out shouting things like "Honte!" and "Vive le pedophile!"
Good on 'em I say.
Sciamma is three times the film-maker Polanski is- or ever was...