Combustible Celluloid
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With: Asa Butterfield, Gwendoline Christie, Ariane Labed, Fatma Mohamed, Makis Papadimitriou, Leo Bill, Richard Bremmer
Written by: Peter Strickland
Directed by: Peter Strickland
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 111
Date: 06/24/2022

Flux Gourmet (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Sizzle Reel

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The first film of Peter Strickland's I saw, Berberian Sound Studio, affected me strongly in the way it paid tribute to Giallo and Italian horror, and was somehow deeply unsettling, despite not showing anything really scary. His subsequent films, The Duke of Burgundy and In Fabric, while retaining a vivid signature style, have affected me less so. They struck me as being more focused on cleverness than a visceral effect, even though they are still focused on issues of the body. As an amateur chef, I was excited by the idea of Flux Gourmet, but it goes even further into the direction of brainy. It does have a physical effect, but it's more of an unpleasant, queasy feeling. It's not so much about food, but the sound of food.

A sonic collective — consisting of Elle di Elle (Fatma Mohamed), Billy (Asa Butterfield), and Lamina (Ariane Labed) — has earned a residency at a prestigious institute, run by Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie). Elle, the leader of the collective, clashes with Jan over what she sees as interfering with her creative vision. The group is working out the kinks in a show in which they play the piercing sounds created by cooking food. Their progress is being chronicled by the pudgy, balding Stones (Makis Papadimitriou), who has chronic stomach issues and is forever holding in explosive gas (he never has a moment alone). Eventually, the sounds of his distress becomes incorporated into the show. And that's, really, about it. I was unable to detect any deeper meaning. While it has a comic tone that seems to betray the potential darkness of its subject, Flux Gourmet is certainly never boring, and is often quite daring. Those that enjoyed Strickland's other work will find that it fits in nicely.

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