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Adèle Haenel, Noémie Merlant joined director Céline Sciamma at the Variety studio to discuss how they discovered their characters’ chemistry and how their individual creative forces melded together for “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”

“We created our collaboration and our love story during the shooting,” said Merlant. “[Haenel and I] took the moment to find the way we look at each other, the way she breathed, the way I breathed, the way we moved together. We found our dance.”

The story of two women who discover a connection isolated on an island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century puts a new lens on the way we view art, creation and the overall life-style of women during this time period.

“The first desire was to write and direct a memory of a love story, a movie dedicated to love,” Sciamma said. “But also the memory of a love story, how it stays with you, and the politics and philosophy of love.”

Portrait of a Lady on Fire” will open in select theaters starting on December 6.

The Variety Studio at the Toronto Film Festival is presented by AT&T.

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