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British director Peter Strickland has a reputation for remarkably odd films, from “The Duke of Burgundy” to “Berberian Sound Studio.” He makes horror films with biting humor and weirdness, and his latest, “In Fabric,” lives up to his reputation.

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Most of the action takes place in a British women’s store, Dentley & Soper’s, that is constantly having a can’t-miss sale, with adoring shoppers lining up daily for the doors to open.

Inside, they find the most peculiar manager and shop clerks, if you can call them that. They look like animated mannequins, and that’s not much of a stretch when you see what these clerks do with the mannequins after hours.

The head clerk, Miss Luckmoore (Fatma Mohamed), speaks in grandiloquent language, as if purchasing a particular dress is some sort of statement about life itself. She says things like, “Did the transaction validate your paradigm of consumerism?” She wears a costume that looks like it’s straight out of Dickens, with puffy black lace sleeves and an elaborate wig.

The constant TV commercials for the store catch the eye of Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste, probably best known for Mike Leigh’s “Secrets & Lies”), a single mother and bank clerk whose estranged husband is moving on to another woman. When Sheila finds this out from her adult son, played by Jaygann Ayeh, she decides to move on, too, and starts looking for love on an internet dating site.361 Womens KgM2-W Running shoesBERTERI Senior Citizen Women's Synthetic Leather Boot Low Heel Outdoor Backpacking shoes

When she finds what might be the right man, she needs a new dress for the date, and heads to Dentley & Soper’s. Little does she know that she’s walking into the weirdest shopping experience ever.

Much of the humor during this episode comes with the contrasting styles of the clerk and the shopper. Jean-Baptiste’s Sheila is unsure of herself, wanting to look good for the date but wondering whether a red dress she is considering is too daring. It’s said to be one-of-a-kind, and that’s understating the case.

Miss Luckmoore, meanwhile, waxes rhapsodic about the dress and its mysteries – in florid language that is markedly in contrast with Sheila’s down-to-earth considerations.

Sheila’s ultimate decision to buy the dress puts her in a situation that seems like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

Her life is further complicated by a torrid sleepover romance her son is having with a lover played by Gwendoline Christie, who likes to swill Sheila’s booze and moan ecstatically – and loudly – during sex.

All of this comes to a bizarre end by the movie’s midpoint – and the dress moves on to yet another home, via a thrift shop purchase.

And if you think Sheila’s experience was odd, just wait till you see the episode involving a bachelor party featuring the red dress.

Strickland has developed a following for his oddities, and that following is deserved. He takes the premise of a genre film and twists it into such weird pretzels that you can’t help but stare in admiration and perplexity. Where does he come up with these storylines?

“In Fabric” premiered at the Toronto international Film Festival, and it generated such buzz that an extra screening was added to that schedule.

It had its U.S. premiere last week at Fantastic Fest and screens again at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27. Grade: B-

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On the surface, the Danish documentary “Heartbound” sounds like something of a lark: There are 926 Thai women who live in the small Danish fishing community of Thy. Twenty-five years ago, there were no Thai women, except for Sommai, a former sex worker from the Thai resort city of Pattaya.

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As it turns out, Sommai, who has developed a loving relationship with husband Niels, has been helping lonely Danish men find companions in Thailand, and she has become like a mother to many of the villagers.

“Heartbound” follows the ins and outs of several of these couples over 10 years – a substantial commitment of time for the subjects as well as for the filmmakers, Janus Metz and his anthropologist wife, Sine Plambech. And “Heartbound” is far from being a lark. There’s companionship, but there’s also plenty of heartbreak.

The film begins with the journey of Kae, Sommai’s niece, who is coming to Denmark to see whether a suitor named Kjeld will be a good companion. She needs to support a son back home. And she is expected to move into Kjeld’s house, after only a peremptory meeting, and she’s expected to have sex with him if she wants a proposal of marriage. That’s just the way it is. But many of these Thai women are coming from impoverished circumstances, broken marriages, with children to support and the prospect of having nowhere else to turn, unless they opt to become one of many prostitutes in Pattaya.

So the anthropological and societal questions are serious, as is the possibility of exploitation.

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One of the women from Sommai’s village, in fact, turns out to be too young to qualify for residency in Denmark through marriage, so she accompanies her friend Lom to Pattaya to work in the sex bars in an attempt to support her child. (Thai fathers rarely enter into this picture.)

Another couple, John and Mong, seem to be thriving in Denmark, and they have a garden full of angels and Buddha statues. Another couple, Frank and Basit, are getting a divorce. And as the film spans the years, Sommai begins to feel homesick for Thailand.

Despite stories of success, “Heartbound” is heartbreaking in many ways. Relatives die. Family ties are irrevocably broken. Young women end up selling themselves. And those who enter loving relationships with men in Denmark still long for those they left behind.

The directors say that they believe their film is “about longing and survival – physically and spiritually.” But it’s also clear that these Thai women have sacrificed much of their lives in the hopes that they might save the future for their children.

The big trouble comes when the women realize they have succeeded — that they’ve managed to raise their children and educate them and prepare them for a productive life. Then what? Stay in an arranged marriage? Stay in Denmark? For some, the answer is yes. For others, the answer is a big fat no.

“Heartbound” premiered Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s an acquisition title, which is festival lingo for: It’s looking for a distributor.

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Violence lurks in nearly every scene of Slovenia director Darko Stante’s “Consequences,” which is having its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. And you’ll be waiting for a big explosion, almost from the beginning.

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The tension comes from Andrej (a magnetic Matej Zemljic) as he tries to navigate his new life at a Slovenian detention center, where he has been sent by his relatively well-to-do parents and less-than-well-meaning Slovenian authorities after numerous rebellious outbursts.

Once there, he meets the center’s top bully, Zele (Timon Sturbej), who extorts money and threatens to beat up anyone who doesn’t do what he says. It’s a familiar setup, with schoolyard taunts and lunchroom thefts.

At first, Andrej tries to stay out of trouble, despite Zele’s constant tauntings. But then the two seem to realize they have something in common. Both are closet homosexuals, although it’s rather clear that Zele, who masquerades as a heterosexual stud, sees his sexuality as a weapon to use against Andrej.

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All of this plays out under the nose of the center’s adults, who are incompetent at best and impotent at worst. Zele has full run of the center, and he leads a band of hoodlums who terrorize the townsfolk on weekends.

The cinematography, the blocking of scenes, the score and the set designs are first-rate. And so is the acting. But there’s something missing, especially in the one-note portrayal of Andrej’s frustrated mom, who gives her son a distorted sense of what love might be.

This is Stante’s feature film debut, and it’s notable. While “Consequences” rehashes themes from such forerunners as “Rebel Without a Cause” and Larry Clark’s “Kids,” it has a distinct vibe, mainly because of its cultural Eastern European context.

“Consequences” was an acquisition title at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been picked up for U.S. distribution by Uncork’d.

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Part of the joy of attending international film festivals is discovering foreign language gems like Icelandic director’s Benedikt Erlingsson’s quirky drama “Woman at War.”

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At the center of this odd tale of someone “who persisted” is Halla, a 50-something choir director in Iceland who seems upbeat and nonthreatening as she prepares adults for recitals and concerts. But still waters run deep with Halla, who is played perfectly by Halldora Geirhasdottir.

Halla is an environmental activist who is determined to wage war on Iceland’s aluminum industry, which she fears will ruin the Highlands, which cover most of Iceland’s interior.

Halla is decidedly low-tech in her war, stalking the power lines near the aluminum plant with a bow and arrow, causing shortages and such that disrupt the flow of electricity. But she starts stepping up her game as she gets more and more publicity as “The Woman of the Mountains,” an ecoterrorist.

That’s stretching the meaning of the word terrorist, because Halla is not directly attacking any person, but Iceland’s government is nevertheless alarmed that their nation will be regarded as hostile to industry.

Halla’s character is further softened by a long-delayed application to adopt a child in Ukraine. Just before one of her biggest attacks, she is notified that her application has been approved and that a young girl is waiting for her.

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Despite such dramatics, “Woman at War” is surprisingly amusing and light-hearted. We get the mood quickly, because as Halla stalks across the pristine Highlands, a three-piece band follows her every move and provides the film’s soundtrack. She occasionally looks at it, as if wondering how a piano ended up on the Highlands, but otherwise doesn’t pay the band much attention.

In an interview provided to the media at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie screened Friday, Erlingsson addresses the use of this band, saying: “The music was there from the original first vision that led me to the movie. … I saw a woman running down an empty street. … Once I got a closer look at her, I could also see there was a three-piece band playing right behind her. Playing just for her and not at all for me. I listened closer until I could hear what the band was playing, and it was the soundtrack to the woman’s life.”

With the plot twist of the Ukrainian adoption, Erlingsson shakes up the soundtrack by introducing three Ukrainian women, in traditional garb, who become a choir for Halla on her quest for a child.

“Woman at War” is scheduled for a theatrical release early next year, with Magnolia Pictures handling distribution.

It’s delightful.

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“Everybody Knows,” which screened Thursday at the Toronto International Film Festival, starts out with a big family wedding in a town outside Madrid – and it attracts the return of one of the family’s favorite members, Laura (Penelope Cruz), and her two children.

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Laura lives in Buenos Aires with her husband, Alejandro (Ricardo Darin), and her return to Spain is joyous for nearly everyone except Bea (Barbara Lennie), who is married to Laura’s childhood love, Paco (Javier Bardem). Bea tries to tell herself that the Laura/Paco romance is over, but she wonders.

And then a tragedy befalls the wedding, with a kidnapping of a child. And when Paco becomes heavily involved in trying to raise the ransom for the missing child, Bea becomes increasingly worried.

But the center of the movie doesn’t belong to Bea. It’s the story of Laura – of her long-ago relationship with Paco, of her new husband Alejandro, and of her loving relationships with her two children.

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As usual, Cruz commands every scene, and writer/director Ashgar Farhadi clearly knows how lucky he is to have her star in one of his movies. His previous movies have been set in his native Iran (“The Salesman,” “A Separation”), and they’ve explored a specific culture, while rising above those specificities to be universal. As Farhadi’s first Spanish-language feature, “Everybody Knows” shows that he can excel in multiple genres.

The opening scenes in the bell tower of the town’s Catholic church are fantastic. And a love tryst in that same tower is charming – but at the same time ominous, in a Hitchcockian kind of way.

It’s hard to discuss the plot of “Everybody Knows” any further without getting into major spoilers. Let’s just say that big surprises lurk in what you think is going to be a crime drama.

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But that’s the way Farhadi works as a writer. He leads you down a comfortable path – and then lowers the boom.

Farhadi hasn’t made a breakthrough movie for U.S. audiences. “A Separation” won the 2012 Oscar for best foreign language film, but its total box office take worldwide was only $7 million – not bad, but not a great total for an Oscar winner.

“Everybody Knows” has more box-office potential, in part because it’s in Spanish, and in part because it has two bankable stars – Cruz and Bardem.

It should do well on the arthouse circuit. Focus Features has acquired the distribution rights in the United States, and it will probably release it in New York before the end of the year, to qualify for awards season. An Austin release date hasn’t been set but will probably be in early 2019.