It is 1770, and Marianne is commissioned to paint the portrait of Héloise (Adèle Haenel), daughter of an Italian countess (Valeria Golino) who intends to marry Héloise with a Milanese man. If he likes the painting, he marries her. There is, however, a hitch - Héloise doesn't want the marriage and refuses to pose. Marianne pretends to be Héloise's maid so she can secretly observe Héloise and create the portrait. While taking notes, Marianne observes Héloise's back, discovers her blonde hair, and focuses on features like her cheekbones and ears, and falls in love with her. Upon revealing the portrait to Héloise, she understands why Marianne was so watchful, and says - "so that's what those looks were." It's at this moment, when they both realize there was more to Marianne's attention to detail than focusing on her assignment. Between the two of them, a desire grew through long obervations and conversations heated by a common desire to escape their fate.
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu won best screenplay at this year's Cannes Film Festival