Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)

personal shopper

For a film as surprisingly dense and multi-faceted as Personal Shopper, it is first important to consider exactly what comprises the work. It is at once a subtle exploration of grief and a glimpse into the unknown, a thriller at times bordering on horror and a relentlessly lowkey experience that borders on parodying the cliches of a normal viewer’s notion of a French arthouse film, and a movie that both embraces and rejects what ultimately becomes the film’s driving principle: spiritualism. Yet it manages to reconcile these differences to some degree or another, and the credit must be given to two incredibly well-matched collaborators: director and writer Olivier Assayas and his new muse Kristen Stewart.

It should be noted that this is Assayas’s second film with Stewart, following his previous film Clouds of Sils Maria (2014). There, Stewart played the assistant and essential foil to Juliette Binoche’s veteran actress, but in this movie she stands alone, quite literally by herself for much of the narrative. Her character is Maureen, a personal shopper living in Paris for a diva model named Kyra who is often heard (through handwritten notes) but only seen in one short sequence. Maureen is also an amateur medium, introduced in the opening minutes wandering the home of her recently deceased twin brother in the hopes of receiving a sign from the other side.

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Friday March 17 – Thursday March 23

Featured Film:

Beau travail at the Northwest Film Forum

For two days in the middle of this week (Tuesday and Wednesday to be exact) the Northwest Film Forum is showing a 35mm print of the best film from that very fine movie year 1999, Claire Denis’s Beau travail. An adaptation of Herman Melville’s novella Billy Budd, it stars Denis Levant as the commander of a French Foreign Legion troop stationed in Djibouti. He becomes increasingly obsessed with a beautiful new recruit, played by Grégoire Colin, understandable given the oppressive heat and the gorgeousness of Agnès Godard’s images of soldiers at work. The plot ends in tragedy, but the movies ends with the rhythm of the night.

Playing This Week:

Admiral Theater:

Shoulder Arms (Charles Chaplin, 1918) Weds Only
The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941) Weds Only
American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973) Weds Only

AMC Alderwood:

Bluebeard (Lee Soo-yeon) Fri-Thurs
The Sense of an Ending (Ritesh Batra) Fri-Thurs
Split (M. Night Shyamalan) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Central Cinema:

Aliens (James Cameron, 1986) Fri-Tues

Century Federal Way:

Jindua (Navaniat Singh) Fri-Thurs
Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Kedi (Ceyda Torun) Fri-Thurs
A United Kingdom (Amma Asante) Fri-Thurs
The Sense of an Ending (Ritesh Batra) Fri-Thurs
Neruda (Pablo Larraín) Fri-Thurs Our Review
ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982) Sat Only Free
The World’s End (Edgar Wright, 2013) Sat Only
All the Best (Snjezana Tribuson) Mon Only
Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve) Tues Only Our Review Our Other Review

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Paterson (Jim Jarmusch) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Saturday Secret Matinees: Presented by the Sprocket Society (Various directors & years) Sat Only 16mm
A Tale of Two Cities: Portland & Seattle Tues Only

Landmark Guild 45th:

The Sense of an Ending (Ritesh Batra) Fri-Thurs
Kedi (Ceyda Torun) Fri-Thurs
Tickling Giants (Sara Taksler) Tues Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Badrinath Ki Dulhania (Shashank Khaitan) Fri-Thurs
The Sense of an Ending (Ritesh Batra) Fri-Thurs
Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992) Sun & Weds Only

Northwest Film Forum:

Mr. Gaga (Tomer Heymann, 2015) Fri-Sun, Weds-Thurs
The Challenge (Yuri Ancarani) Sat Only
Uncertain (Ewan McNicol & Anna Sandilands) Fri-Sun Only Director Q&A Sat
Beau travail (Claire Denis, 1999) Tues & Weds Only 35mm Our Podcast

AMC Oak Tree:

Mean Dreams (Nathan Morlando) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

The Sense of an Ending (Ritesh Batra) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Jindua (Navaniat Singh) Fri-Thurs
The Sense of an Ending (Ritesh Batra) Fri-Thurs

Seattle Art Museum:

The Only Son (Yasujiro Ozu, 1936) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

A United Kingdom (Amma Asante) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

You’re Killing Me Susana (Roberto Sneider) Fri-Sun Only
Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki, 2011) Weds Only Plus wine and pastry

AMC Southcenter:

Sword Art Online The Movie – Ordinal Scale (Tomohiko Itō) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas) Fri-Thurs Our Review
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Uptown:

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi) Fri-Thurs
Kedi (Ceyda Torun) Fri-Thurs

Varsity Theatre:

Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness (Heber Cannon, Ian Wittenber, Marston Sawyers & Mariah Moore) Fri-Thurs
Wolves (Bart Freundlich) Fri-Thurs

In Wide Release:

The Great Wall (Zhang Yimou) Our Review
John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski) Our Review
Hidden Figures 
(Theodore Melfi) Our Review
Fences (Denzel Washington) Our Review
La La Land (Damien Chazelle) Our Review
Moonlight 
(Barry Jenkins)  Our Review