In some methods, Flux Connoisseur is filmmaker Peter Strickland’s most accessible work but: much less terrifyingly reality-bending than Berberian Sound Studio, much less non-narratively bizarre than The Duke Of Burgundy. However it’s nonetheless defiantly, divinely Stricklandian. It tells the unusual story of a “Sonic Catering Institute”, a quasi-Nineteen Seventies efficiency artwork collective dealing primarily in meals, sound, and intercourse, documented by a journalist with some unpredictable bowels.
It’s an undeniably surreal journey, with summary cutaways of effervescent nondescript meals, outlandish performances (there’s a weird, mimed recreation of a visit to the grocery store — Brian from Spaced can be proud) and a actuality that isn’t a lot heightened as obliterated. However Strickland’s script is much less formalistically daring than earlier efforts: the place he upended his narrative in Berberian, switched narrative views in In Cloth, and allotted with logic completely in The Duke Of Burgundy, this can be a comparatively simple, three-act, singular story.
It is a piece of artwork in regards to the creation of artwork, each subverting and embracing the shape.
Stylistic prospers definitely doff a blood-soaked cap to the horror masters — Strickland nonetheless employs the red-rich color palette of his beloved Italian giallo heroes — however he appears to have moved previous horror into one thing extra leftfield. It’s a bit of artwork in regards to the creation of artwork, each subverting and embracing the shape whereas exploring the conflict of egos and infighting that may are available a artistic course of.
Primarily, that conflict is between the domineering however sensible efficiency artist veteran Elle de Elle, performed by Strickland common Fatma Mohamed, and her mansion-owning benefactor, Jan Stevens, given baroque severity by Gwendoline Christie. Jan is presented a number of the extra patently absurd traces of dialogue — “I do surprise typically in case you’re perpetuating an archetype of Epicurean toxicity with all this culinary hysteria,” she ponders in a single scene — and also you sense Strickland is delighting in skewering creative pseudo-intellectualism.
However for all of the tempering of earlier excesses, Flux Connoisseur stays categorically, brilliantly Not For All Tastes. Its curious delights embrace monologues about worrying farts, chauvinist docs delivering diagnoses whereas glugging white wine, pillow speak about flangers, and probably the most grotesque colonoscopy ever filmed.