mediums, well done

Personal Shopper is a ghostly story about a young woman who is seeking some sign from her deceased twin brother, a powerful medium, who had promised to communicate from beyond the grave. At the same time, she works as a personal assistant to a celebrity, earning just enough money to have a small place in Paris where she can pursue her spiritual quest and, nominally, her artistic career.

At the TIFF premiere of Personal Shopper, director Olivier Assayas stated that Kristen Stewart was the greatest actress of her generation, and that he wished she could have shared in his best director win at Cannes. The film itself stands as strong proof of his point, Stewart is absolutely riveting even when silently stalking through a deserted dimly lit house, or while texting at length on a busy train.

This slow burning thriller straddles genres and tones, while maintaining its distinctive artistic integrity.

Highly recommended.

Planetarium tells the story of two American sisters travelling the world in the 1920’s performing séances as cabaret act when they are taken under the wing of a credulous French filmmaker who wants to revolutionize cinema by capturing the first images of real ghosts. This European production with a November release, directed by Rebecca Zlotowski, features transporting images and great acting, but we don’t need another thin story about filmmaking or prewar anti semitism.

Natalie Portman is the strongest force in this film, yet she is even better in Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, where the script gives her something to work with. Like its namesake, Planetarium simulates a grander power without embodying it.

Worth catching when it’s streaming, so you can let the beautiful images flow over you.

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