In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

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Grand Wazoo
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In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#1 Post by Grand Wazoo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:12 am

Peter Strickland's In Fabric
Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio) will direct ghost story In Fabric starring Oscar-nominated actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies, Broadchurch).

The director is reteaming with producing partner Andy Starke (Free Fire) on the project after the pair previously collaborated on The Duke Of Burgundy. Starke developed the film in association with Ian Benson at Blue Bear Film and Television and will produce via his production company Rook Films.

In Fabric, also written by Strickland, is set against the backdrop of a busy winter sales period in a department store and follows the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person, with devastating consequences.


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Re: New Films in Production, v.2

#3 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:29 pm

Excellent! Just rewatched Duke of Burgundy the other night after hearing good things out of In Fabric’s Toronto screenings (and liked it even more than when I saw it the first time). Here’s hoping this gets a broad enough audience to spur someone to release Katalin Varga on Blu.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#4 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed May 29, 2019 10:11 am


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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#5 Post by dda1996a » Wed May 29, 2019 10:20 am

This looks awesome and reminds me I need to watch this guy's films already

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tenia
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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#6 Post by tenia » Wed May 29, 2019 10:48 am

I saw it at a festival a few weeks ago. It's still technically splendid, but it drags way more than his past 2 movies (haven't seen Katalyn Varga). The movie's structure is looser, the dress being the central character, making it more complicated to care for the characters' fates.

At the screening I attended, which was followed by a Q&A with Strickland, someone asked him if he saw Guadagnino's Suspiria (he didn't) and that it was a 2h30 movie. Strickland answered that In Fabric is only 2h long, but that his producers already complained about this duration. The main complaint was that too many scenes don't make the plot go forward and I tend to agree with them.
Some do work, including a fascinating scene of 2 store clerks doing weird things with a weird mannequin while a weird old guy watches them, but others are just failing at thickening the atmosphere or the characters.

I still recommend the movie for those liking this kind of works, but I do think it's a movie vastly inferior to Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#7 Post by swo17 » Wed May 29, 2019 10:49 am

Katalin Varga's his best film, get on it!

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#8 Post by ianthemovie » Wed May 29, 2019 10:55 am

Wow, I wish the movie was actually as good as that trailer makes it seem. I saw it at IFF Boston and thought it was fun to look at but pretty weak, narratively speaking (which is how I've felt about most of Strickland's previous films). Gorgeous use of mise-en-scene that evokes 1970s advertising, department store catalogs, fashion photography etc.--Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace seems to have been an influence here, along with Argento, Radley Metzger, and probably a bunch of other lesser-known exploitation filmmakers I'm not familiar with. The plot is pretty ridiculous, though, and what's worse is that it has absolutely no shape or momentum. Marianne Jean-Baptiste's role is much smaller than it's made to look here and whenever she's not on-screen the movie really becomes a slog. (I agree with tenia that the pacing is a problem.) It's fun for a laugh but it's more creepy and off-beat than scary in any conventional sense. I would keep your expectations low.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#9 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed May 29, 2019 11:01 am

I unequivocally love Duke of Burgundy, so I'll be seeing this ASAP regardless, but the mixed-positive responses are a little disappointing for what seems like a ripe concept for his style. Still haven't managed to get my hands on Katalin Varga either... I kept hoping that it would become available in bluray or HD streaming around the release of his next feature, but at this point I might have to cave and get the UK DVD soon.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#10 Post by tenia » Wed May 29, 2019 11:06 am

It's absolutely a moody creepy movie more than anything, kind of like some weird feverish dream (those demonic adverts), but certainly not scary at all.
It is however indeed gorgeous, but the sound design, like for his 2 previous movies, is fantastic. I asked Strickland if he preferred toying with the sound or the picture, and he answered in a very definitive way "The sound ! Plus, there's always producers around where you're filming, but for the sound design, nobody cares and you can do whatever you want in the editing room or in post-prod."
DarkImbecile wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:01 am
I unequivocally love Duke of Burgundy, so I'll be seeing this ASAP regardless, but the mixed-positive responses are a little disappointing for what seems like a ripe concept for his style.
He was clearly aiming at something heavily relying on mood and atmosphere, but it's clearly not enough to last 2hrs. I suspect that if the movie was, say, 30-40 minutes shorter, it'd be a blast, but as it is, it's way too long and with characters that superficially drawn, it's unforgiving. Especially, its second third (or maybe, say, third quarter) tries too much to be disjointed from the previous one, but without succeeding to provide reasonable grounds for it, and I seem to recall this section could be entirely cut out with no impact.

In a way, it seemed like it tried to repeat the spiralling down in craziness from Berberian, but it just doesn't work that well (though that stretched scene with the bank commercials had me laughing to tears).

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#11 Post by moreorless » Wed May 29, 2019 4:09 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:01 am
I unequivocally love Duke of Burgundy, so I'll be seeing this ASAP regardless, but the mixed-positive responses are a little disappointing for what seems like a ripe concept for his style. Still haven't managed to get my hands on Katalin Varga either... I kept hoping that it would become available in bluray or HD streaming around the release of his next feature, but at this point I might have to cave and get the UK DVD soon.
Although I felt his previous two films presented much more obvious drama and it was really putting his style to work on that which made them such good cinema rather than just exercises in that style.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#12 Post by nitin » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:07 am

This is clearly a movie that does not care about narrative, and is predominantly interested in mood and atmosphere. And on those aspects, it delivers in spades IMHO. But that’s not all, I found this to be absolutely (intentionally) hilarious and laughed harder than I have in most out and out comedies of recent times.

Screened at MIFF with a brief intro by Strickland though he didn’t really say all that much. More interestingly, it was preceded by Strickland’s delicious silent short The Cobblers’ Lot which I hope appears on upcoming blu ray releases.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#13 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:25 pm

I can see why this movie didn’t work for some. It’s so intentionally ridiculous and unapologetically flaunting style over substance, but that seemed to be not only the point but the key to appreciating the film on an analytical level. I wondered during moments of this bizarre fever dream if Strickland was trying to say anything. There’s poking around in plenty of sub-territories of social commentary, from the materialistic desires and solutions sought as cures for self-esteem or apathy to the customs of following rules or refusing to confront others so ingrained that one fails to return the most dangerous object they’ve encountered because of a policy and too many exchanges of words for comfort. Humans quickly revert to animalistic characteristics to be served first in line at a clothing store, and my personal favorite moments featured the two bosses’ responses to subordinates, nonchalantly issuing amplified consequences and dissonant smiling confrontations for violations of etiquette that ironically signify odd behavior and poor manners themselves, even in the context of this universe.

What stops this from becoming something of a Lanthimos knockoff (not a jab, at all) is that while Strickland presents us with a slightly tweaked world, he doesn’t give us consistency in his milieu of social commentary nor is he interested in fully committing to a singular attitude or angle from this vantage point. The discipline is devoted to a calculated and deadly serious technique containing a loose and playful experiment with giallo genre conventions that’s deliberately careless in its intentions. What I love about this film is that it walks a dangerous line that could fail had Strickland chosen to invest his efforts more sincerely in the social aspects, but because he blatantly knows what he’s doing, does decide to go there and then chooses to retreat back to style out of a disinterest towards exploring the social commentary more in depth, he essentially makes a movie that falsely appears to be an allegory or metaphorical horror until it’s actually revealed (repeatedly) as an anti-message film. This film isn’t trying to say anything at all, and whether the intent is to poke fun at that sub-genre by purposefully pulling away or simply ignoring the opportunity out of apathy towards a structured brand of predictable norms and world-building, it doesn’t matter. This is a film that doesn’t need clear intentions to work because it succeeds as a dedication to forfeiting such details by marking them trivial under the pulsing context of passion in another area of filmic power. Strickland knows this is funny, surreal, relatable, nonsensical, surprising, unconventional, exciting, and troubling to those following expected genre beats, but because he wears his awareness of this chaotic blend of ingredients with unashamed confidence and crafts such a masterful film that’s somehow simultaneously containing and off the rails at once, it works.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#14 Post by tenia » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:35 am

I don't think it's just a question of style over substance. I just found the moive way too loose nevertheless.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#15 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:33 am

Sure but my argument is that the specific attitude of “unapologetic” (and I should add: “self-aware”) of this ‘style over substance’ serves as a jumping off point to the analysis and appreciation I got out of it, but I don’t see why it can’t be both that and “loose,” since you’re right it absolutely is yet that reinforces why I love it. The preference for style over consistency of narrative content allows the style to become the substance and by loosening elements that we’re used to relying on as defaults for driving the narrative, there’s a discomfort and natural aversion to this esoteric design. But I think because the film is “unapologetically” so willing to be loose around the material within the strong technical design, there are a lot of strengths in the playfulness and possibilities that exist when one ignores the rules of a tighter structure or aim in text that could result in rigidity. I find it liberating to get a self-aware horror-comedy that is comfortable in taking half-measures in stride and not as unintentional faults. However I think we agree that it’s incredibly loose, but the measure of its success lies not in that assessment but in whether or not it’s too loose or just loose enough for what one wants to get out of a movie like this. Even though I found it a refreshing change up at face value and a rather complex meta-dissection of the horror film underneath, I can see how one can be ambivalent to the film’s choices just in their nature.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#16 Post by tenia » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:46 am

I can be both, and that's part of what I wanted to emphasize. The other part is that it's not because it's probably self-aware about being style over substance that it succeeds in this type of movie. I don't mind loose movies (and, in a way, both The Duke of Burgundy and Berberian Sound Studio were also loose movies), but In Fabric only seemed to me to work at times. The first half (or maybe third) felt very much OK to me, but there's a shift after that that simply didn't feel efficient to me, and I started not caring anymore about what was happening or shown to me on-screen. I think part of my issue is that for such a loose movie, it also recurringly tries not to be loose, and the failure of the connections between its different parts probably is why I found the movie to be in a inefficient in-between position.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#17 Post by nitin » Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:44 am

I think a big part of whether someone will like this or not will turn on whether they find it funny. If you don’t, I can see the rest not really working at all. If you do, that helps a fair amount as the humour fits the vibe of the rest of the movie.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#18 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 am

tenia wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:46 am
The first half (or maybe third) felt very much OK to me, but there's a shift after that that simply didn't feel efficient to me, and I started not caring anymore about what was happening or shown to me on-screen. I think part of my issue is that for such a loose movie, it also recurringly tries not to be loose, and the failure of the connections between its different parts probably is why I found the movie to be in a inefficient in-between position.
Yeah I see that too, and the recurrent attempts not to be loose is the containment I was referring to, reeling back in a film with form it takes seriously amidst the chaos. I think you hit the nail on the head for how the film functions in its inefficient shifts leading you not to care, except I was oddly mesmerized by this novel offering because of how little Strickland himself seemed to care about me caring that I was able to hesitantly abandon this (normally vital) process of investment and enjoy the ride curiously but not comfortably.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#19 Post by tenia » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:37 am

nitin wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:44 am
I think a big part of whether someone will like this or not will turn on whether they find it funny. If you don’t, I can see the rest not really working at all. If you do, that helps a fair amount as the humour fits the vibe of the rest of the movie.
I did find it funny, but I don't think it's funny enough along to keep afloat its 2hrs. But for sure, if on top of all this, you don't find the movie funny, you're likely to quickly get into a borefest.
therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 am
I was oddly mesmerized by this novel offering because of how little Strickland himself seemed to care about me caring that I was able to hesitantly abandon this (normally vital) process of investment and enjoy the ride curiously but not comfortably.
That's probably the aptest description of the best way to appreciate the movie and seemingly (from what I recall from Strickland discussing making the movie) what it's aiming too.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#20 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:55 am

tenia wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:37 am
therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 am
I was oddly mesmerized by this novel offering because of how little Strickland himself seemed to care about me caring that I was able to hesitantly abandon this (normally vital) process of investment and enjoy the ride curiously but not comfortably.
That's probably the aptest description of the best way to appreciate the movie and seemingly (from what I recall from Strickland discussing making the movie) what it's aiming too.
Interesting, I forgot you were at a Q&A screening! Just out of curiosity, regarding Strickland's aims from that discussion, are you referring to a personal intention for a loose lack of caring about these specific social commentary pieces/narrative elements, or an external intention to drive the audience into abandoning these comfortable tools for accessing the film? I guess what I'm asking is: was he referring more to his own intentions for himself, or his intentions for his audience (or both)? I definitely read the film as the former which results in the latter occurring as a happy accident but am curious if he had more stake in influencing the audience's reactions in such a complex manner, as that didn't seem fitting with the more self-concerned apathetic 'playing' in my initial reading, though I suppose that degree of intent would be equally as impressive as the same reactions from more limited external intentions.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#21 Post by tenia » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:09 pm

The loose aspect of the movie and what he was aiming for himself.

It was in January so some months ago now so I can't be as thorough as I'd like about that.

I seem to recall him saying he wasn't really aiming at social commentary (especially the 2 bankers), but definitely aiming at something mostly atmospherical (he also explained that he had hot discussions with his producers for having too many scenes which weren't bringing the plot forward). He also specifically wanted to re-create the era of big department stores, and it seemed this nostalghia fuelled a non-negligible part of the project for him.
It's definitely supposed to be funny in some twisted ways.
I don't think he discussed what he expected of audiences, though I also seem to recall him saying he expected audiences having more difficulties with the pace of this movie compared to his previous ones.
He absolutely loves working with Fatma Mohamed and specifically said so (I don't recall other cast members being specifically discussed, though it was brought up by an audience member who thought she was way under-used in the movie industry).

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#22 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:43 pm

That makes a lot more sense and in line with my impressions. I didn’t think he was aiming for any heavy thematic social commentary as much as floating out some humorous observations that serviced the milieu of his vision, but I can’t imagine that he wasn’t aware that his comedy was generated from social, institutional, and ideological (specifically capitalist) observations. I just feel like he wasn’t as concerned with going full tilt into this realm and used them as the peripheries within his more impassioned focus. After all, it is a film soaked in materialism from style to content with all elements revolving around a literal piece of material!

I’m glad to hear that he fought his producers and whoever else to not compromise his art, especially considering that it appears a lot of these extra elements were more included as fun experimentation and playfulness rather than a significant variable to heighten a core concept. The notion that Strickland took the energy to argue for his creative vision so seriously despite it containing elements that weren’t intended to be serious or particularly important beyond unrooted ambitions in his conceptualization a la spectacle is pretty admirable. Thanks for sharing!

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#23 Post by swo17 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:24 pm

I have to say, the thing I was most reminded of here was Twin Peaks: The Return, but without all of that series' (understandable) meandering. Strickland's the real deal, folks

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#24 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:37 pm

Yeah, and beyond some clear technical similarities there was a lot of the same trust bargained for with surprising ease in a vision that offered and required no clear explanation to achieve its power.

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Re: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)

#25 Post by TMDaines » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:38 am

swo17 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:24 pm
I have to say, the thing I was most reminded of here was Twin Peaks: The Return, but without all of that series' (understandable) meandering. Strickland's the real deal, folks
Pretty much this.

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