Flux Gourmet Trailer: Peter Strickland Cooks Up A Feast Of Gastronomical Horror

Years after his hypnotic haunted dress tale "In Fabric," Peter Strickland has returned with another striking concept: what kind of horrors await at a "culinary collective" for performance art? Sensory overload is a Strickland trademark, and given the auteur often works textures and closeup visual fascination into his films, putting food at the center of the story is an eerily perfect fit. "Flux Gourmet" is set at an institute devoted to culinary and alimentary performances and stars Asa Butterfield (of "Sex Education" fame), Ariane Labed ("The Souvenir Part II") and Gwendoline Christie ("Game of Thrones") as members of the collective embroiled in "power struggles, artistic vendettas and gastrointestinal disorders."

The film is set to premiere in Berlin Film Festival's 2022 Encounters program on February 11, before arriving in theaters in Summer 2022. This marks Strickland's fifth feature, reuniting the director with IFC Films, who previously collaborated on his English-language debut "Berberian Sound System" and his follow-up feature "The Duke of Burgundy." Strickland's first English feature had a similar fascination with art and foodstuff, following a Foley sound engineer smashing watermelons and stabbing cabbages to create sound effects. This time around, stabbing vegetables seems like a given — and just the beginning of the oddness "Flux Gourmet" will embrace. In a statement last year (via Variety), Strickland explained his inspiration for the film, saying

"'Flux Gourmet' came about through a personal frustration with how alimentary disorders or food allergies have been comically portrayed in some films, and without wanting to embark on a finger-wagging mission, I wanted to write something devoted to the disruptions of the stomach whilst attempting to maintain a degree of dignity to deeply private and embarrassing symptoms."

You can check out the first teaser trailer for "Flux Gourmet" below.

Flux Gourmet Trailer

A collective dedicated to making food-oriented art sounds oddly specific, but the concept works like magic in Strickland's hands. Based on the trailer, the film mixes visual exploration with intriguing power dynamics. The story begins with the arrival of newcomer Stones (Makis Papadimitriou) whose gastrointestinal unrest catches the attention of the company stars, Billy Rubin (Butterfield), Elle di Elle (Strickland regular Fatma Mohamed), and Lamina Propia (Labed). Seizing on Stones as an opportunity to perfect their own acts they consider how best to turn his weak stomach into a useful gimmick while company director Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie) works to protect her authority. It's hard to imagine the story being entirely devoid of comedy, but the inherent eccentricity will have an interesting tension with Strickland's desire to maintain dignity while exploring gastronomical health issues.

"Flux Gourmet" is written and directed by Strickland and also stars Richard Bremmer ("In Fabric") and Leo Bill ("Cruella"). Here's the synopsis for more details.

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.

"Flux Gourmet" hits theaters and on-demand in Summer 2022.