Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle as we screen four films written & directed by Peter Strickland. Next up is his horror/satire Flux Gourmet .
- Screening Date: Saturday, January 7th, 2023 (NEW DATE) | 1:00pm
- Venue: The Mason O. Damon Auditorium at Buffalo Central Library
- Specifications: 2022 / 111 minutes / English / Color
- Director(s): Peter Strickland
- Print: Supplied by Swank
- Tickets: Free and Open to the Public
Downtown Central Library Auditorium
1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203
(Enter from Clinton Street between Oak and Washington Streets)
716-858-8900 • www.BuffaloLib.org
COVID protocol will be followed.
A sonic collective who can’t decide on a name takes up a residency at an institute devoted to culinary and alimentary performance. The members Elle di Elle, Billy Rubin and Lamina Propria are caught up in their own power struggles, only their dysfunctional dynamic is furthermore exacerbated when they have to answer to the institute’s head, Jan Stevens. With the various rivalries unfolding, Stones, the Institute’s ‘dossierge’ has to privately endure increasingly fraught stomach problems whilst documenting the collective’s activities.
Upon hearing of Stones’s visits to the gastroenterologist, Dr Glock, Elle coerces him into her performances in a desperate bid for authenticity. The reluctant Stones puts up with the collective’s plans to use his condition for their art whilst Jan Stevens goes to war with Elle over creative differences.
- Berlin International Film Festival – 2022
‘Flux Gourmet’ originally started as a satire on artists and their complex relationship with the institutes that fund their work. I tried to remain neutral and look at both perspectives offering both sympathy and ridicule. Whilst exploring the month-long residency of an art collective that deal with food, I became interested in the idea of taboo and shock value in art, which in this context opened up the dark side of the stomach and the bowels. This eventually led to the story of a man in the institute suffering from very private and embarrassing stomach problems – the kind of problems many people suffer from, but are sometimes too embarrassed to mention even to a doctor.
I’ve often felt frustrated with cinema’s ignorance of allergies and intolerances, which are often portrayed as comedy, particularly when someone’s face swells up from anaphylactic shock. Though there are no allergies or anaphylactic shock in ‘Flux Gourmet’, I hope that the film treats stomach problems responsibly, whilst still pushing the boundaries of taste. I wanted to explore coeliac disease for ‘Flux Gourmet’ and treat all the symptoms methodically. At first, with all the mention of flatulence, the audience might think we are making a comedy, but we soon realise that this is serious and we never hear a single fart throughout the film. All the deeply embarrassing problems are never shown. We only hear the character mention them in solemn voice-over, yet there is humour elsewhere with the gender and creative conflicts between band members and the institute.
It’s clear by the end of the film that having coeliac disease is not the end of the world for the character and people can easily adapt to it, but I hope that audiences will understand the disease more instead of thinking it’s a ‘fad’ and thinking a coeliac sufferer won’t have any stomach problems if he or she eats gluten. Also, a lot of emphasis is on the fear prior to diagnosis.
The influences for ‘Flux Gourmet’ are Robert Bresson’s films with his solemn and almost religious voice-overs, Rob Reiner’s ‘Spinal Tap’ for the rock n’ roll clichés, the Viennese Aktionists for the corporeal shock value and Marcel Marceau for his mime work. The time and place are not specified in order to enhance the film’s dream-like nature. Ultimately, through the use of performance art and avant-garde music, I want to reveal a very human story about problems that people are often too embarrassed to talk about, but hopefully many of us can relate to regardless of how healthy or unhealthy our stomachs are. Within the seriousness, I also wanted to present a somewhat silly world exploring creative conflict, rejection, power and the dilemmas facing both artists and their patrons.
“I’m glad British film produces mainstream crowd-pleasers, but I don’t want to make one.”
Courtesy of Flux Gourmet press kit:
Peter Strickland (born in Great Britain’s Thames Valley in 1973) has made five feature films steeped in tragedy, sonic psychosis, bondage, retail nightmares and stomach problems.
Peter Strickland started making short films on Super 8 and 16mm in the early ’90s. After directing his adaptation of Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ for Reading’s Progress Theatre in 1992 he went on to direct a short film in New York called ‘Bubblegum’, which played at festivals in 1996. After a long hiatus making culinary soundscapes with The Sonic Catering Band, he returned to film in the early part of this century. His first feature film, ‘Katalin Varga’ was funded from an inheritance and shot and edited on a budget of £25,000. The Carpathian tragedy led to funding from the British film industry and the Milano-Dorking sonic anguish of ‘Berberian Sound Studio’ followed in 2012 along with the bondage romance, ‘The Duke of Burgundy’ in 2015. Several radio plays along with a concert film for Björk co-directed with Nick Fenton were made in the last few years and his fourth feature, the Thames Valley retail nightmare, ‘In Fabric’ was released in 2019. His latest feature is the gastrointestinal drama ‘Flux Gourmet’.
- Flux Gourmet (2022)
- In Fabric (2019)
- The Duke of Burgundy (2015)
- Björk: Biophilia Live (2014)
- Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
- Katalin Varga (2009)
Here is a curated selection of links for additional insight/information:
- Cultivate Cinema Circle info-sheet – link
- “Director Peter Strickland’s transportive, fully realized alternate worlds put to shame most of the ‘cinematic universes’ that dominate contemporary film conversation. In The Duke of Burgundy, In Fabric, and now Flux Gourmet, Strickland and his collaborators assemble fantasy social scenes that operate on their own internal, slightly askew logic, with the rules of real-life social norms heightened for parodic effect, featuring dry dark humor, kink, and readily apparent cinematic influences. The Duke of Burgundy, for instance, presented an all-female community of BDSM-loving lepidopterists, seemingly all residing in improbable stately manors. Flux Gourmet presents a similar hermetic sylvan setting, this time depicting enthusiasts of a robustly imagined music scene, satirizing both the art world and the entangled romantic and creative travails of collaboration…Strickland has made a career out of using familiar tropes from “Euro-sleaze,” giallo, and schlock horror to elevate comedies of manners into epic endeavors. He conjures those genres’ garish colors and aggressive sound work around relationship conflicts in The Duke of Burgundy, a meditation on retail culture of In Fabric, and a metatextual look at filmmaking in Berberian Sound Studio. Flux Gourmet in many ways feels like it’s remixing elements from each of those earlier works. It combines the setting and attention to interpersonal dynamics of Duke of Burgundy (and reuses its reference to a “human toilet”), the older woman/younger man romance of In Fabric (with Christie again playing the woman, to boot), and the meticulous attention to Foley work from Berberian Sound Studio. More than that, the film draws directly from Strickland’s time as a musician, as he’s spent decades with the Sonic Catering Band, which does indeed turn food noises into music. Many of the songs Elle’s collective performs in the film were originally performed by that band. To a more literal extent than many filmmakers already do, Strickland has fashioned a world in which his personal predilections become fixations for his characters. Here the name of his band identifies an entire respected field.” — Dan Schindel, Reverse Shot  – link
- “Tim Sidell’s cinematography, Saffron Cullane’s wonderfully outlandish costumes and the uncanny sound design all deserve mention for the rich aesthetic blanket draped across the film. But underneath that blanket Flux Gourmet is lacking something of the deep-seated viscera of Strickland’s other work. Flux Gourmet is superficially, affectedly weird in a way that misses the unsettling dreamlike wrongness that is so key to Berberian Sound Studio or In Fabric, while the psychology of its characters are often too rote to elicit the empathy and drama of The Duke of Burgundy or Katalin Varga. That’s not to say that Flux Gourmet is without delectable morsels. The aforementioned cinematography is rich with colour and contrast, bringing out the deep reds and inky blacks that dominate the frame. Elsewhere, the collective’s performances are a baffling delight to watch, as are the studied performances of the cast. Moreover, while the viscera of the film could be more pungent, its exploration of the ways that food, sex, performance and conflict intersect are at the very least intriguing. There is a great deal to enjoy here for devotees of Strickland’s work and the film feels destined to be described as his weirdest piece yet.” — Christopher Machell, Cinevue  – link