In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2018) – Chattanooga Film Festival 2019

FIRST FLOOR: WOMEN’S FASHION, ACCESSORIES, TERROR

Writer-director Peter Strickland’s latest effort is his most demented vision to date, a bizarrely terrifying combination of Suspiria and Phantom Thread that is awash in blood (and other bodily fluids). Set in the world of 1970s fashion, In Fabric is a psychosexual phantasmagoria initiated by a murderous dress that is sold by an unusual department store and the hypnotic coven that runs it. Recently divorced bank clerk Sheila is the garment’s first victim, completely unaware that her purchase at Dentley & Soper’s will unleash the frock’s curse and set in motion an absurdly brutal chain of fashion related brutality.

With In Fabric, Peter Strickland blends Italian supernatural horror and Europudding erotica with corporate micromanagement and baroque customer service-speak, producing an incisive parody of consumer culture that still manages to feel legitimately unsettling and truly terrifying. In Fabric is a must sees for surreal fashion addicts and kinky horror fans alike!

Special Edition Comments:

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by horror film journalist Mark Kermode and excerpts from the Dentley & Soper store catalogue

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blank vhs covers were kinda beautiful (4096, 2018)

After sitting far too long on my bookshelf, I’m finally reading Lucas Hilderbrand Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright, a fascinating exploration of the analogue era’s aesthetic and legal upheavals. What better timing to share animator 4096’s blank vhs covers were kinda beautiful (2018), a tribute to artwork that adorned blank videocassette sleeves. From Aphex to Memorex, TDK to JVC, Super Avilyn to Silver Shadow, 4096 finds graphic dynamism and free-flowing inspiration in these designs sure to feed the nostalgia engines of time-shifters and bootleggers alike.

Monos (Alejandro Landes, 2019) – Chattanooga Film Festival 2019

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Monos.

On a far away South American mountaintop, a group of adolescent child soldiers guard a kidnapped American woman for the Organization, a bandit militia that demands complete obedience from the youngsters. When a borrowed milk cow is killed and a battle approaches their mountain refuge, the group is sent to guard their prisoner in the dense jungle below where resentments, paranoia, and power struggles turn into a nightmarish fight for authority and survival. Charged by Jasper Wolf’s crisp, concentrated cinematography and Mica Levi’s titantic score, Alejandro Landes creates a monumental and hallucinatory war film that evokes Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and William Goldings Lord of the Flies.

Disc Features:

  • 4K digital master, approved by cinematographer Jasper Wolf, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with director Alejandro Landes, composer Mica Levi, actress Inés Efrón, and cast members
  • Video diary shot during the film’s production
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Manuel Betancourt

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My Chattanooga Top Ten!

The 2019 Chattanooga Film Festival is now done and dusted and its winners have been announced. Giovana Olmos won the Student Filmmaker Award for Sweet Tooth, Dylan Meyer took the prize for Best Short with Rock Bottom, Andi Morrow’s Pusher the Movie won for Tennessee Filmmaker, Bethany Brooke Anderson won Best Feature for Burning Kentucky, and the Audience Prize went to Billy Senese’s The Dead Center. Senese’s film, shot in Nashville, was the only award-winner that I saw and it was an enjoyable horror experience, featuring an ancient evil unexpectedly held in a hospital’s psychiatric ward and a frustrated doctor forced to face this unexpected threat. The filmmaker’s own experiences with mental illness obviously inform The Dead Center and the film finds legitimate scares in the friction between its institutional setting and its supernatural menace. Still, the movie fails to make the most of its concept by remaining too vague in its characters and its monster, missing opportunities to ratchet up its stakes and bring its audience even closer to The Dead Center‘s dark core. I would encourage horror fans to check out The Dead Center but MMC! had favourites of its own and the best of the best were found in the “CFFeatures” section.

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Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2018)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Shoplifters.

On the margins of Tokyo, a band of petty thieves take in an abandoned and abused child stranded in the cold. Incorporating the girl into their family, they find new happiness amongst each other, however their tenuous, below-the-radar existence is threatened when their son is arrested and their makeshift family is questioned. Shoplifters is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest masterpiece, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and a quintessential expression of filmmaker’s love for  marginalized lives, complex families, and domestic dramas.

Disc Features:

  • 4K digital master, approved by director Hirokazu Kore-eda and cinematographer Ryuto Kondo, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New video interviews with Kore-eda and cast members
  • Documentary on the making of the film, featuring on-set footage
  • Trailers and TV spots
  • PLUS: Essays by critic Imogen Sara Smith and Japanese film scholar Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano

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Trailer Tuesday

In all my shout-out excitement this weekend, I neglected my main purpose: thanking everyone who voted in our year-end poll! Two films stood atop all others – Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters and Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. Naturally, you can expect to see one of those two films as the subject of MMC!‘s next imagined Criterion title. (No spoilers, but it’ll be Shoplifters!)

Now, on to some trailers!

The Criterion Channel is set to launch on April 8 and the Collection has cut together a rousing trailer promoting it. MMC! already has its charter membership, but there’s plenty here that pricks up our ears: The Safdies! Susan Pitt’s Asparagus! The Devils! Local Hero! The Holy Mountain! Hype!Godzilla and Beyond!” The Channel’s initial line-up has been announced and there’s even more MMC! fan-bait there too: 11 films noir from Columbia, David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, John Woo’s Last Hurrah for Chivalry, Bi Gan’s Kaili Blues, a profile on Charles Burnett, seven films featuring Simone Signoret, AND Alan Parker’s Bugsy Malone! (If the Collection ever released a hard media edition of Bugsy Malone, I swear my face will melt right off!)

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