Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hyper Capitalism vs. Spirituality

Personal Shopper (2016) - Assayas
Loved it. With a lucid, flowing script, Assayas lets out the best in Kristen Stewart. The film's more Demon Lover or Irma Vep than Summer Hours. Assayas sketches out the general framework of the film in broad strokes - Maureen (Stewart), a girl who can't let go of her twin brother's death, comes to Paris where he died and waits for his signal (they were both mediums). In the mean time, she works as a personal shopper for Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten), who can't do normal things for herself because of her celebrity status. The result is a delicious, genre bending whatsit that highlights Stewart's best assets - her nonchalance and youthful physical beauty. Added on here is her vulnerability. She is pretty much the same character here as she was in Clouds of Sils Maria or anything she's ever done that I saw her in, except here she is a fully flesh and blood, a young woman unsure of her judgment and emotion.

After determining the presence who vomits ectoplasm in her brother's house is not her brother and giving up the hopes of contacting her brother again, Maureen starts getting text messages from an unknown caller. He is watching her every move, and making her do things. Things turn darker and scarier for Maureen.

Assayas is operating on his top form with Personal Shopper. Forget about his penchant for portraying flash subjects and celebdom. No other European filmmaker better keeps balance in catering toward box office appeal while not compromising his/her artistic vision than he (Lars von Trier is the other I'm thinking of, but to lesser extent). As usual for Assayas standards, there are many international actors showing up - von Waldstättten (October November), Lars Eidinger (Everyone Else, Sils Maria), Anders Danielson Lie of Joachim Trier films. And of course in the middle of it all is Stewart. She plays her character with so much disdain. She doesn't need a man to be sexy (no pun intended). Her eyes reading the text message, "you are afraid because it's forbidden?" alone makes her sexy. And where else would you see her changing clothes and putting on expensive dresses so casually? One of the year's best.

No comments:

Post a Comment