Personal Shopper

Screening on Film
Directed by Olivier Assayas.
With Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouazizr.
France, 2016, DCP, color, 105 min.
DCP source: IFC

Personal Shopper plunges this series into the contemporary with a subtle-yet-clever play on the term “medium.” Kristen Stewart plays the personal shopper for a celebrity—a medium between the woman and her media-made image—as well as a Medium who can communicate with the dead. However, she is challenged by another medium: the iPhone, which begins to send her anonymous messages that may be sent by her deceased brother, with whom she cannot otherwise communicate. The film reaches dramatic sublimity with a prolonged, wordless sequence in which Stewart texts back and forth with the mysterious being—a sequence proving not only that modern media communications can make for compelling cinematic sequences, but that traditional media-driven anxieties regarding presence and absence, life and death, embodiment and disembodiment, communication and miscommunication, have only become more pressing as we place the Internet in our pockets. 

Part of film series

Read more

Caught in the Net.
The Early Internet in the Paranoid Imagination