Loading Events

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Presented by Film Feels Curious

Presented as part of SHE’S CURIOUS, a programme of events and activities celebrating the imagination, creativity and private worlds of women through film taking place in July 2022 in Brighton & Hove and Lewes.

Take a trip down the rabbit hole…

Portrait of a Lady on Fire / 2019 / 120mins / Subtitled / Rated 15

Originally scheduled to be screened at The Old Market in March 2020, Céline Sciamma’s elegant and enigmatic historical romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire is rightly regarded as one of the best films of 2019. The film won both the Queer Palm (the first film directed by a woman to do so) and Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival.

At the end of the eighteenth century, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a young painter, is commissioned to paint a portrait of a young woman, Lady Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) to be used to elicit marriage proposals. Knowing that Héloïse has previously refused to sit for portraits as she does not want to be married, Marianne disguises herself as a lady’s maid in order to gain her subject’s trust, only to find herself inadvertently falling in love with her.

A subversively seductive love story, Sciamma’s superlative film explores the unique qualities of female-only spaces and the power of the female gaze as a vector of intimacy, curiosity and desire. The two women grapple with their longing for each other within a society that prohibits not only sexual and emotional bonds between women, but the wider control of their own artistry, bodies and lives. Both erotic and cerebral, bold and restrained, Portrait of a Lady on Fire has been quickly regarded as a modern masterpiece which has since marked a new phase in Sciamma’s filmmaking.

Doors and Bar at 7:15pm for an 8pm start


SHE’S CURIOUS meanders through the lives and experiences of women of all ages and abilities, shining a light on female narratives, secret places and private desires.

Curated and delivered in partnership by Screenshot, a network of alternative and independent film programmers in Brighton & beyond, SHE’S CURIOUS presents a selection of unique and unforgettable film experiences that showcase complex and intriguing female protagonists, as well as films that are led by female creators behind the screen.

Film screenings will take place at DepotFabrica and The Old Market

Plus: Try out the One Bum Cinema Club booth and see an unexpected short animated film, chosen at random for you. This free, drop-in personal cinema experience will tour ACCA, Depot and The Old Market from 6 – 21 July 2022.


SHE’S CURIOUS is part of Film Feels Curious, a UK-wide cinema season, supported by the National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. Explore all films and events at filmfeels.co.uk.

Facilitated by Fabrica on behalf of Screen Shot, which promotes and supports alternative film events in Sussex. Screen Shot works with independent programmers, film clubs, festivals and community groups to help special events, pop-up screenings and live cinema events reach a wider audience.

Back to What's On


19th Jul




The Old Market

Book Now


Céline Sciamma

Production Year





120 mins

Subtitle Info