Film: Flux Gourmet

Weirdness for the sake of weirdness can have its charms, and in its own perverse way, Flux Gourmet (2022) does have…some. But does it add up to anything? Perhaps not enough. The film chronicles the bizarre residency of a trio of performance artists at the “Sonic Catering Institute,” a cultural center where culinary sounds are transformed into transgressive audio theater. The performers—group leader Elle (Fatma Mohamed) and her two sound engineers, Billy (Asa Butterfield) and Lamina (Ariane Labed)—are sponsored by the institute’s director, Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie). Meanwhile, a writer named Stones (Makis Papidimitriou) is onsite to document the residency, living with and interviewing the performers, despite a chronic, embarrassing gastrointestinal condition that makes his work physically and socially uncomfortable.

Indeed, discomfort seems to be the aim of the troupe, and of Flux Gourmet itself. The film makes a mockery of its self-important performance artirstry, reveling in the same gross, edgy subject matter that inspires its snobby characters: unnerving sound effects, disgusting foods, and disturbing body horror. It’s tagged as a black comedy, which can sometimes be code for “weird, not-funny comedy,” which is pretty much the vibe. So the project’s success hinges on how much stock you place on its experimentalism and unpredictability. From time to time, the calculated weirdness wrings out an amused moment or two, but mostly Flux Gourmet is an exercise in low-budget shock tactics and thought-provoking perversity. This makes it a difficult film to enjoy, if an interesting, memorable watch.

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