This haunting phantasmagoria from Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy) follows the surge of misfortunes afflicting customers who come into contact with a bewitched dress at an eerie department store.

Midnight Madness

In Fabric

Peter Strickland

TIFF veteran Peter Strickland returns to the Festival 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.

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. 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.

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 — which hauntingly sails towards its victims with an eerie glide that flirts with both camp and genuine menace — 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.

PETER KUPLOWSKY

Tue 11

Scotiabank 5

Press
9:30pm
Thu 13

Ryerson Theatre

Regular
11:59pm
Fri 14

Scotiabank 4

Regular
8:45pm
Sat 15

Scotiabank 11

Regular
11:45am