I've been thinking about Personal Shopper a lot since I saw it last month. The film, the latest from talented French director Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours, The Clouds of Sils Maria), is haunting in multiple senses. It's haunting not primarily because it is a ghost story (literally... the opening scene is a haunted house sequence more chilling than anything in the Paranormal Activity films).
I don’t know what it’s like to be a refugee. I’ve never had to flee my homeland out of fear for my life because bombs or beheadings were a very real threat. I’ve never had to resettle in a foreign land and struggle to assimilate to an alien or hostile culture. I also don’t know what it’s like to lose a loved one to an act of terrorism, blown up in a plane or riddled with bullets in a concert venue.
Traveling is a funny thing. Those who do a lot of it know how addictive and essential it is, and how equally it pulls you with such force away from your mundane, everyday existence but then thrusts you back with sling-like vigor at the end. You always feel like you must “get away” from home when you venture out on some trip, but by the end it is “home” that beckons you, normalcy that grabs you, and a humdrum schedule that enlivens you with its familiar scent of mom’s cookies and newly washed sheets.
I’m leaving on Saturday on a “research”/“writing” trip to New York City, London, Oxford and Paris. The reason I’m going is threefold