Celine Sciamma on the set of Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Stories & Ideas

Sun 24 Jul 2022

Oscillating wildly: Céline Sciamma's inclusive cinema

Film Melbourne Cinémathèque Retrospective
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Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society

Notes for the 14–28 September 2022 Melbourne Cinémathèque program.

Although many only discovered the cinema of Céline Sciamma (1978–) with the international release of the extraordinary ‘two-hander’ Portrait of a Lady on Fire, she had already forged a remarkably productive career as a filmmaker, screenwriter and activist (she was a founder of Le Collectif 50/50, for example). Completing a Masters in French literature and attending France’s most prestigious film school, Le Fémis, Sciamma helmed her first feature, Water Lilies, in 2007. This and her subsequent two features, Tomboy and Girlhood, represent a loose coming-of-age trilogy focusing on adolescence and girlhood that establishes Sciamma’s preoccupation with sexual, racial and gender identity, as well as the conflict between social norms, inclusiveness and individual desires.

Her remarkably candid and nuanced work explores female friendship and the fluidity of LGBTQI+ identity through a feminist viewpoint, moving outside of many of the conventional ways of representing desire, sexuality, eroticism and the gaze. This season spans the duration of Sciamma’s career and includes all of her most significant works: the Cannes Queer Palm-winning Portrait of a Lady on Fire; her breakthrough feature, Girlhood; and her latest film, the beautifully detailed realist fairytale, Petite maman. It also highlights her innovative and deeply felt screenplays for André Téchiné’s exquisitely observed Being 17, and Claude Barras’ truly singular animation, Ma vie de Courgette.


Oscillating wildly: Céline Sciamma's inclusive cinema

Tomboy (2011) – Wed 14 Sep, 6:30pm
Ma vie de Courgette (2016) – Wed 14 Sep, 8.10pm
Petite Maman (2021) – Wed 14 Sep, 9:30pm
Being 17 (2016) – Wed 21 Sep, 7pm
Paris 13th District (2021) – Wed 21 Sep, 9:05pm
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) – Wed 28 Sep, 7pm
Girlhood (2014) – Wed 28 Sep, 9:10pm

Person laying on sand, with their face reflected in a puddle

Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

Learn more | View the 2022 program | See membership options