Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Quote of the Day

Peter Strickland's "retail nightmare" In Fabric is still playing at the Metrograph theater here in New York so if you haven't seen it yet and you're here in town you owe yourself a trip and a treat -- go, do, see, live. Here's my review of the movie from when it screened at Tribeca in the spring. There's a new chat with Strickland with the folks at Criterion today -- for a second I thought Criterion was going to release In Fabric on blu-ray and I almost died but that doesn't seem to be in the cards, at least not for the time being. But the chat is a fine one -- he says his favorite movie of the year is The Lighthouse, so clearly he and I were meant to be (and as an aside Karyn Kusama is also stumping for Robert Eggers' movie in Variety today) -- and I especially enjoyed this bit where he talks about creating the film's lush (to put it mildly) atmosphere:

"I was also interested in how theatrical these department stores were. When I’ve been interviewed about In Fabric, I keep getting asked about giallo. I’ve obviously seen one or two giallo films, and my second film was loosely in that world, but it was not remotely on my mind. I’m not attracted to violence, but I am attracted to the flamboyance of those films, the heightened colors and production design. I didn’t know until recently that I’m prone to reacting to ASMR, so I used it consciously in this film because I remember the particular sound of those stores. They were very quiet—not like stores now, which are very loud—and there was the sound of the pages in these catalogues. That high-gloss paper—just the sound of the pages turning would trigger this intense relaxation for me. People mistake it as erotic, but it’s not; you just go into a bit of a zone-out.

I remember how thick the carpets were in those stores and how they muffled the sound of everything. I tried to use a child’s perspective, like when you’re a kid and you look at a dumbwaiter and you don’t know where it leads so you wonder if it goes all the way down to hell . . . or you wonder, do mannequins bleed? In the seventies, the hands on the mannequins were very splayed out, as if they were casting a spell on you. I also remember seeing garments that I didn’t know the purpose of. You’d see a suspender belt and think, what’s that? You knew it was something intimate, so there was a combination of the nightmarish and the erotic. When you’re a kid there’s no language for the erotic, but you sense the power of something beyond your comprehension. This film was an excuse to explore those visceral responses to clothing."

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