Flux Gourmet

Flux Gourmet

Set at an institute devoted to culinary and alimentary performance, a collective finds themselves embroiled in power struggles, artistic vendettas, and gastrointestinal disorders.

A group of “sonic caterers” go into residences at a remote artistic institution in . Elle di Elle (), Billy Rubin (), and Lamina Propria () are a trio of performance artists who take residence at a culinary art institute run by Jan Stevens (). The residency is being documented by Greek writer Stones (), who is being treated for gastronomical issues by Dr. Glock (), who became part of the act.

Flux Gourmet is the latest film from writer/director Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke of Burgundy, In Fabric). The film stars Romanian actress Fatma Mohamed, who has appeared in all of Strickland's films, as Elle di Elle, the leader of a trio of performance artists, the other two members being played by Asa Butterfield (Ender's Game) and Ariane Labed (Before Midnight), who amplify strange sounds from food and appliances. Taking residence at an institute run by the enigmatic Jan Stevens, played by Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), the group has to deal with in-fighting, outside saboteurs, and the embarrassing flatulence of their biographer Stones.

Like most of Peter Strickland's films, Flux Gourmet is a film that can't be classified under a single genre, though the film is probably best described as a dark comedy with some surreal elements. The film's story is told from the perspective of the writer Stones, with his Greek narration forming the film's backbone. The main centrepiece of the film is the performances by these “sonic caterers,” which soon comes to involve Stones and his ongoing treatments for stomach problems.

While not as steeped in horror as Peter Strickland's previous film, Flux Gourmet is a boundary-pushing film, which includes one particular performance in the movie that will elicit disgust, laughter, or both. If anything, Flux Gourmet is a film about the absurd nature of performance art and the lengths the performers are willing to go for their own. In particular, the group's leader Elle di Elle is shown to be a bit of a control freak who is unwilling to make even the slightest change.

Probably the central standout in the cast for Flux Gourmet is Gwendoline Christie as Jan Stevens, with her very awkward and soft-spoken performance being quite different than the roles Christie is known for, whether it be Game of Thrones is the Star Wars sequel trilogy. This makes Christie a great foil against Fatma Mohamed, who has the more showy role in the film.

While fans of Peter Strickland's previous films will likely find things to like about Flux Gourmet, the film is ultimately probably a bit too weird and disgusting for mainstream consumption.

Trailer for Flux Gourmet

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.