Manage episode 293720735 series 2841664
The peculiar tale of a young Spiritualist medium listlessly going about her day job as a personal shopper for a Parisian model/actress while awaiting a sign from her recently departed twin, ‘Personal Shopper’ is an incredibly ambitious meditation on what it means to be alive in a contemporary haunted world. A languid ghost story interwoven through an erotically mundane day (plus a bonus sideline murder thrown into the background), “Personal Shopper” flirts with a full spectrum of different genres, while somehow avoiding falling into any of them by proverbial miles. Another polarizing film for audiences, PS is a challenging story-telling exercise, not only in its melding of different tones and devices, but also in its dedication to pull from and incorporate nearly two centuries of real-life history, philosophies, and perspectives from Spiritualist practice. From the bright abstract bursts of Hilma af Klint, to the lingering spirit guides of Swedenborg, and those double exposure apparitions, this film is overflowing with insider references—A working knowledge of which is fairly essential for truly appreciating the film for what it is: an exquisitely crafted insider love letter to a very specific outsider art.
Deep dive topics for this one include: the abstract art of Hilma af Klint ; the Fox Sisters, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Franz Mesmer, and other Spiritualist superstars; the rise of Spiritualism during the Second Awakening in the “burnt over districts”; Helena Blavatsky and her “High Masters” Theosophy; the double exposure ghost and its roots in early spirit photography; that old vomiting-the-cheese-cloth ectoplasm trick; Victor Hugo’s table tapping exploits on the Isle of Jersey; the importance of technology in the historical development of ghost-based beliefs, and why using your cell phone to send a text is really not all that different from talking to ghosts.
Episode Safeword(s): “out of reach”