Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper, which follows a young woman (Kristen Stewart) as she appears to be haunted by the ghost of her dead brother, seems at the level of its synopsis to be very different from Assayas’ previous film and collaboration with Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria, but the first official trailer for the film, which just debuted, foretells more similarities than might immediately meet the eye.
For one thing, Stewart is once more playing an assistant of sorts (here, she plays the titular personal shopper; in Clouds, she was a personal assistant for a big-name actress), and more specifically, an American assistant working in Europe. For another, both films appear to question the authenticity of its characters’ realities. In Clouds, such questioning took place in the film’s meta-cinematic foregrounding of performance, which led viewers to ponder the artifice of the film as a whole. Per the trailer of Personal Shopper, Assayas’ latest film will observe Stewart’s character questioning whether the “signs” she receives from her deceased brother are truly otherworldly, or merely delusions conjured by her unraveling sanity (a third possibility is that someone, for some reason, is messing with her).
Amid the fraught emotional context of Personal Shopper, we can perhaps expect a third similarity to emerge between this film and Assayas’ predecessor: a powerful performance by Stewart, who went toe-to-toe with the legendary Juliet Binoche in Clouds and here seems to be tasked with the demanding feat of conveying a woman in grief and on the edge of madness.
Check out the full trailer above, and be on the lookout for the film when it starts rolling into theaters on March 10.