In Fabric (2018)

In Fabric
Director: Peter Strickland
Writer: Peter Strickland
Cast: Gwendoline Christie, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Caroline Catz, Julian Barratt, Hayley Squires, Richard Bremmer, Leo Bill, Susanna Cappellaro, Steve Oram, Fatma Mohamed, Jaygann Ayeh, Simon Manyonda
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 29.10.2018
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Plot:
Miss Luckmoore (Fatma Mohamed) is a shop assistant at a big department store. But ther is something else going on in the store than your usual shopping experience. Miss Luckmoore does sell a dress, though. In fact, she sells the same dress to several women. A cursed dress that spells trouble for all of the women who buy it.

In Fabric is a weird film, in a very special, entertaining and enchanting way. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it from its horror to its absurd sense of humor.

The film poster showing a floating red dress in front of a black background.

In Fabric is the kind of film that people tend to describe with “it’s not so much a film like it is an experience”. By that I don’t mean that it is particularly big or overwhelming. Strickland himself said in the talk after the film that it is a film about textures – and that was a very astute comment for me. It’s definitely not about the narrative, but it’s a film that is so sensual that it gets a haptic quality.

Although reducing it to textures is almost selling it short, because to me it was also a movie of voices. There were so many good voices here, although it was Mohamed in particular who had me sitting up to attention whenever she said anything. Miss Luckmoore was generally such a great character and presence in the film, I wouldn’t have minded listening to and watching her all day.

A sales clerk (Fatma Mohamed) complimenting her customer (Marianne Jean-Baptiste).

The cast was generally really good, with a nice couple of guest appearances. But, apart from Mohamed, it was Jean-Baptiste who really stole every scene she was in. She was absolutely brilliant in her role.

There were some things that the film left a little too vague for me (for example, I really wouldn’t have minded a little more motivation for the department store people), but it’s also the kind of film that doesn’t really rely on explanations anyway (because it doesn’t rely on narration that much), so it didn’t bother me for long. Instead I just leaned back and let the film carry me away.

Four sales women and the shopkeeper beckoning customers.

Summarizing: the film is quite something.

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