Few directors capture modern life so vividly as Mia Hansen-Løve, and only in some cases does she show it in English-language contexts. Suggesting something of a bold leap, then, to read her next feature, If Love Should Die, will concern the 18th-century English feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft. An official synopsis tells us it’s set “on the eve of the French Revolution,” concerning “an impoverished young Englishwoman makes the bold decision to lead her life according to the ideals of the enlightenment.” Which implies a multi-lingual production––Wollstonecraft also spoke French and German––a hunch supported by the notice that cameras roll next year in the United Kingdom, France, Scandinavia, and Portugal. MUBI will produce and co-finance with Arte France Cinema. [THR]

Here’s Hansen-Løve’s statement on the production:

“My ambition is to capture with as much acuity and truth as possible this pivotal era and the life of a woman that cinema has never before looked at. Iconic in England, Mary Wollstonecraft is not known in France. That suits me: making a film about a figure who is too predictable, or too famous, has never interested me. I am attracted to characters engaged in a quest, devoid of certainties. The souls of artists, no doubt, but I am inspired by the most fragile, the most vulnerable among them.”

One imagines that, in the ideal scenario, Hansen-Løve’s peripatetic style and deep level of detail makes for an uncommonly vivid period piece. A cursory look at Wollstonecraft’s life shows terrain that’s long interested her (social strife, martial discord, sex, parenthood) and in the lattermost case a strange twist: giving birth to Mary Shelley. Let’s hope a late-2025 premiere’s not too much to ask.

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