The plot of British director Peter Strickland’s latest project, Flux Gourmet, revolves around a culinary residency that is granted to a collective performing so-called “sonic catering”. Sounds of food and cooking are played with and distorted, cable ends are placed into saucepans. Watching these performance pieces, after a while it becomes difficult to tell portable stoves and mixer consoles apart. The group consists of obstinate leader Elle and her former lovers Lamina (Ariane Labed) and Billy, played by Asa Butterfield. The writer tasked with documenting the trio’s processes experiences a different fusion of the edible and the audible: he is plagued by indigestion and flatulence.
It is an interesting concept to juxtapose the intake of food with the much less talked about theme of digestive processes. The implementation is eccentric but remains mostly tasteful (no pun intended).
The mis-en-scène of this experimental feature is outstanding: wide shots are carefully blocked, allowing each character to inhabit their space and move within it; the protagonists themselves all have very distinct looks. Culinary institute director Jan Steven (portrayed by Gwendoline Christie), for instance, wears dark eyeshadow up to her brows. Her outfits are impeccably elegant, down to silk sleepwear, which is accentuated by a bizarre jester’s cap. Butterfield’s hair is teased to the front, obscuring his trademark blue eyes.
While Jan’s cougar storyline topically aligns with a number of other recent films, it stands out due to the exaggerated enactment of seduction. Chiefly played for laughs, it remains up to the audience to interpret the mature woman’s true intentions. With the exception of the writer, who unobtrusively observes, and his interviews, which are held in a more subtle manner, the acting style borders on the theatrical.
Flux Gourmet is a whimsical little piece of storytelling, recommended in particular to those who enjoy the avant-garde.
Flux Gourmet is released in select cinemas on 30th September 2022.
Watch the trailer for Flux Gourmet here: