British director Peter Strickland is responsible for three formidably distinct genre tinged recuperations of the past decade—and remains frustratingly underrated. Arriving with 2009’s revenge drama Katalin Varga and then moving on to the giallo inspired Berberian Sound Studio and then the not-to-be-missed The Duke of Burgundy (read review) in 2014, Strickland has yet to hit anything resembling a false note. In fall of 2017, Strickland announced his new project, In Fabric, which is set during a busy winter sales period in a department store and follows the life of a cursed dress which keeps exchanging hands. The film stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Oscar nominee for Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies, 1996) and Hayley Squires (the scene-stealer in Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake), Leo Bill, Steve Oram, Fatma Mohamed, Jaygann Ayeh and Richard Bremmer.
Release Date/Prediction: With a growing cult following, Peter Strickland’s previous three efforts have received little fanfare stateside. While Katalin Varga competed at the 2009 Berlinale, it didn’t secure US distribution, and 2012’s Berberian Sound Studio competed at Locarno. The Duke of Burgundy premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, another missed opportunity for the Cannes program that year (although this received a modest limited theatrical release courtesy of IFC/Sundance Selects). Currently shooting in the UK, and with a couple high profile names in the cast, In Fabric should hopefully make a bit more noise. While the Cannes main comp tends to be genre-phobic, Strickland could potentially make a landing in the Directors’ Fortnight—but should this route be bypassed, In Fabric would make for an inspired entry at 2018 Venice as well.