FNE at Berlinale 2022: Encounters: Flux Gourmet

    FNE at Berlinale 2022: Encounters: Flux Gourmet source: www.berlinale.de

    BERLIN: Director Peter Strickland’s fifth feature film Flux Gourmet, a UK, USA, Hungary coproduction, screens in the Encounters section of the 2022 Berlinale. While the world of culinary art might sound like a frivolous setting for a film this is not the case.

    This promises to be more of a violent assault on the stomach of the viewer. Audiences will remember cult writer director Strickland for his previous strange outings including Katalin Varga, the erotic The Duke of Burgundy (2014), Berberian Sound Studio (2012) and In Fabric (2018).

    As the film description says the plot follows an art residency led by an upper-class aesthete who has invited a culinary collective called the Sonic Catering Institute to perform their “sonic catering” practice for a month. Hired to report on their creative process, a Greek writer, Stones played by Makis Papdimitriou, begins to suffer from indigestion, a cause of much farting and other unpleasant digestive noises, to which the institution’s sarcastic doctor responds by advising him to “let food be his medicine”. While his intestinal disorders force him to acknowledge his own malaise, the collective is undermined by internal quarrels as well as external assaults from a group of sardonic, rejected candidates.

    The whole thing is clearly a send up of performance art and the whole pretentious world of relationships between artists and their sponsors. According to the press notes Strickland previously spent a long time making culinary soundscapes with something called The Sonic Catering Band. It is all very much an insiders joke and accompanied by much excrement and other disgusting bodily materials. This is a comedy but not for those with weak stomachs.

    This British master of the cult and the bizarre has been moving in a constant line away from any recognizable reality and while those with a taste for this kind of thing might find it a treat there is no doubt that much of the audience will find it hard to get through without a few fast trips to the loo. The Greek voice over is apparently another element to this unappetising concoction of the bizarre. 

    Strickland who was born near London in 1973 and comes from a dual heritage with a British father and a Greek mother. While he dabbled in theatre during his youth in the UK he really transformative time as a film artist was during the 2000s when he lived in Slovakia and Hungary and thus came up with his first feature film Katalin Varga which he filmed on a super low budget in Romania which netted him the 2009 award for European Film Award for European Discovery of the Year.

    Credits: Flux Gourmet (UK/USA/Hungary)
    Directed by Peter Strickland
    Cast:Asa Butterfield, Gwendoline Christie, Ariane Labed, Fatma Mohamed, Makis Papadimitriou