Berkreviews Flux Gourmet (2022)

I’ve now seen three Peter Strickland films, and I would have to say that I am a fan of his unique take on horror. Berberian Sound Studio (2012) and In Fabric (2018) both give specific settings that are the source of the horror. Flux Gourmet (2022) continues in that style – and in a way that required someone else to point out the parallels of the Andy Warhol era of performance art and music for me to fully grasp what Strickland had been going for. Once I got there, I really appreciated all of the little elements the film offered to add to the enthralling performances and oddities that had already grabbed my attention. 

The film follows a collective who uses food as their musical inspiration and instruments to score a visual performance that has been selected by an institute devoted to culinary and alimentary performance. Stones (Makis Papadimitriou) is working for the institute to document the collective’s time and performance while suffering from gastronomical problems that he fears could lead to his death. At the heart of the conflict are power struggles, art versus commercial debate, and individual voice versus the collective voice of the group. 

The performance that surprised me the most was Asa Butterfield. He has not always been an actor who I’ve been able to connect with. It’s possible that his attempts at the more mainstream cinema have just been the result of bad scripts, rather than bad performance – and he has legendarily been the runner-up to some major movies. Thus, it’s likely that he’s always been quite good, and I just haven’t been able to see the range he can offer. His character is given much to deal with throughout Flux Gourmet, including being the object of a few women’s affections. Gwendoline Christie plays the head of the institute, and becomes quite infatuated with Butterfield’s character. There are some odd scenes between the two of them, and both give very compelling and vulnerably odd performances. 

In many ways, Strickland reminds me of Yorgos Lanthimos in his world-building. They both write their characters to have very unique styles of speaking. The worlds are all-encompassing – and while they often resemble our “real” world, there is some element that is so uniquely different. While there are probably tons of other examples, it’s the level of conviction that these two filmmakers approach the subject matter with that truly makes me connect with them. They have something to say

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