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In Fabric

Peter Strickland

Director Peter Strickland follows up The Duke of Burgundy with a beguiling ghost story worthy of the witching hour. Set against the backdrop of a wintertime department store sales spree, his latest phantasmagoria concerns a cursed scarlet dress as it encounters unsuspecting customers and corrupts their lives.

"A beguiling ghost story worthy of the witching hour..."

Pervading each thread is the witchy sales-matron (Fatma Mohamed) of the demonic department store, who speaks to her clientele in a cryptic verse to mask her dark designs, and an eccentric pair of bureaucrats hilariously portrayed by cult-favourite actors Steve Oram and Julian Barratt. Further bolstered by an entrancing cast that includes Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Gwendoline Christie, to say nothing of the villainous dress itself – that hauntingly sails towards its victims with an eerie glide that flirts with both camp and genuine menace. From a lonely divorcee to the wife of a washing machine repairman with a thousand-yard stare, dissatisfied souls float through a mesmerizing miasma of surreal sights and sounds, sporadically punctuated with bursts of disorienting collage-montage evoking the experimental works of Arthur Lipsett.

Obliquely split between two distinct tales in a dreamy divide reminiscent of David Lynch's Lost Highway, Strickland's film is populated with an idiosyncratic array of indelible characters and imagery. In Fabric is an absorbing synthesis of the exquisite pastiche Strickland achieved with Berberian Sound Studio and the erotic romanticism of his The Duke of Burgundy, here hemmed to sinister effect.