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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Personal Shopper [Blu-ray]


(Olivier Assayas, 2016)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: CG Cinéma

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #899



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:45:31.533

Disc Size: 48,118,047,609 bytes

Feature Size: 31,748,229,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.05 Mbps

Chapters: 11

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October 24th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3052 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3052 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none


New interview with Assayas (16:56)
2016 Cannes Film Festival press conference featuring actor Kristen Stewart and other members of the film’s cast and crew (45:33)
Theatrical trailer (2:02)
PLUS: An essay by critic Glenn Kenny






Description: With this intimate supernatural drama, the celebrated French filmmaker Olivier Assayas conjures a melancholy ghost story set in the world of haute couture. Starring Kristen Stewart, whose performance in Assayas's Clouds of Sils Maria made her the first American actor to win a Cesar Award, this evocative character study tells the story of a young American fashion assistant and spiritual medium who is living in Paris and searching for signs of an afterlife following the sudden death of her twin brother. A stirring depiction of grief in the form of a psychological thriller, Personal Shopper which won Assayas the best director award at Cannes is a chilling meditation on modern modes of communication and the way we mourn those we love.



The Film:

The film tells the story of a young woman named Maureen, played by Kristen Stewart with placidity and deep reserve, whose tedious, demoralizing job it is to buy designer clothing for a celebrity too well-known to buy it herself. By night, however, she is possessed of a more stimulating pastime. Maureen’s begun to cultivate a latent paranormal interest, and has found herself able to feel the presence of – and at times even communicate with – the dead.

This obliges the film to strike a divided style. On the one hand, it is a workplace drama about professional malaise. On the other, it is a supernatural thriller in which a budding medium communes with apparitions. The competing styles are unified, under the deft command of director Olivier Assayas, by the swell of feeling coursing beneath them: grief, sorrow, yearning. And of course love.

Excerpt from National Post located HERE


Personal Shopper opens on an eerie note as Maureen walks through an abandoned house to see if the spirit of her dead brother is present and to reassure a buyer that there are no unfriendly ghosts around. What she does find, however, is not reassuring to the prospective buyer. On the surface, the special effects surrounding her discovery of an angry spirit who spews ectoplasm is a throwback to Grade B genre movies (according to Assayas, the effect bears a striking resemblance to actual photographs taken by spiritualists in the nineteenth century), but the effect may give us the impression that the spirit world is a terrifying place. When asked what she is doing in Paris, Maureen says that she is “waiting.”

Excerpt fromTheCriticalCritics located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Personal Shopper looks excellent on Blu-ray from Criterion and is advertised as a "2K digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Yorick Le Saux and approved by director Olivier Assayas".  This dual-layered Blu-ray, with max'ed out bitrate, reproduces the film's dark, smokey, appearance in 1080P resolution. The film is transferred in the 2.4:1 aspect ratio and visually it maintains the look of being as spooky as the scenes investigating the house. the image is, predictably super-clean and I can't see a way this could look better than it does in this format.

















Audio :

Criterion transfer the audio in a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at a healthy 3052 kbps (24-bit). There are few effects - mostly maintaining the atmosphere through empty silence or a cornucopia of musical pieces like Ave Generosa, Pavana, many may recognize Marlene Dietrich performaing Das Hobellied, Amazing Blondel's The Leaving of the Country Lover and Anna Von Hausswolff's The Miraculous and Track of Time. It sounds flawless. There are optional English subtitles for the English, French and Swedish languages used on the film and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' -locked.


Extras :

There is an interesting 2017 interview with Assayas running 17-minutes conducted by Criterion in Toronto. He discusses the production, his intentions etc. There is also a 3/4 hour 2016 Cannes Film Festival press conference featuring actor Kristen Stewart and other members of the film’s cast and crew. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or and it's cool to see the venue and group together in one place. There is a theatrical trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Glenn Kenny.



Personal Shopper is both a divergence for Assayas and Criterion as a modern horror-genre film.  This was even better than I was anticipating - the subtleness of the darkness is far more haunting than overt, graphic, visuals thrust in your face. Personal Shopper has themes of mourning, overcoming fear, love, strength, personal spirituality, principles - all shrouded in a beautiful mystery.  This Blu-ray package is easily endorsed. This is one of the most emotionally engaging horror-related films I've ever seen. Our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

September 22nd, 2017


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze





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