As mainstream cinema is increasingly dominated by a select few movie types — superhero extravagances, nostalgia-exploiting IP tent poles, and the occasional precious feel-good indie — the potential for genuine surprises has largely been lost. That’s by design: studios realize that the more clients are prepared for what they’ve paid for and can comfortably stay one step ahead of those entertainments, the more likely they are to enjoy them – hence theatrical trailers and TV spots, for example that intentionally spoil crucial plot points, suspenseful moments, and fun one-liners ahead of time. Predictability is safe and reliable, and so the film landscape of 2022 is littered with projects designed to soothe rather than shock and surprise.
However, someone apparently forgot to get that message across to Peter Strickland, the British-born auteur filmmaker whose feature-length works –Berber recording studio, The Duke of Burgundyand in the fabric– are deliberately opaque and provocative. Strickland likes to operate on the fringes, where his sensitivity to all kinds of things can thrive free from the constraints of the market. He’s a legitimate iconoclast, interested in taking detours that are as unnerving as they are unexpected, and he remains that way river gourmet (June 24), an art-world satire so far removed from today’s multiplex cuisine that it feels like an active assault on the status quo. The author/director’s delirious and deviant novel is a feast of the bizarre, a story that both indulges in and pokes fun at absurd claims and makes no concessions to conventional notions of good taste and clarity.
river gourmet is the rare movie where it’s impossible to guess what each new scene will bring. From the start, Strickland offers no solid ground to stand on, throwing the audience into the action in medias res through the sight of food sizzling on a pan and boiling in a pot. A woman’s hand (with long, painted fingernails) waves over this stew like a witch tending her cauldron. Then we’re presented with a general context for those early sights: a mansion where the outrageously dressed Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie) serves as the financial patron of culinary sound collectives determined to explore and experiment with sounds made by artists and with meal. Her current clients are a trio consisting of leader Elle (Fatma Mohamed), acolyte Billy (Asa Butterfield) and protégé Lamina (Ariane Labed) who pose on stage in all-white robes in front of a table set with cooking utensils, vegetables, and electronic audio equipment .
Strickland doesn’t bother to explain what a sound collective is or how it works; Rather, he just leaves viewers in the deep end, assuming they’ll eventually tune into his weird wavelength. That might be a tough task for some considering how strange everything is going on inside river gourmet. Nonetheless, it’s a bold move that, by and large, makes one curious as to what the heck is going on in this remote setting. As it turns out, the answer is that Elle, Billy, and Lamina have been chosen as Jan’s promising understudy, and Jan hopes that by offering them freedom and support, they’ll have some kind of inventive breakthrough in relation to their goals, which are said to be have to do with traditional kitchen-related gender dynamics. Unfortunately, this process is complicated by the fact that a rejected meat-centric collective called The Mangrove Snacks constantly terrorizes Jan, and that Elle resents Jan’s attempts to disrupt her creativity.
Jan and Elle’s disagreement – which revolves around the correct modulation of a flanger – is the nominal subject of river gourmet, which charts the fluctuating tensions between outdoor artists and those who fund their imaginative endeavors. This conflict can’t help but come across as a cheeky articulation of Strickland’s own experiences, and the writer/director’s real-life history with a culinary-oriented collective called The Sonic Catering Band only further underscores his personal connection to this surreal mockery of the weirdness of the performance art. Not that such backstory affiliations really matter; What is paramount here is the jocular bravado with which Strickland enacts his madness, much of it with a score (from filmmaker, Stereolabs Tim Gane, and A Hawk and a Hacksaw) that revels in distorted, abstract brat-and- bubbling sound.
“Not that such backstory affiliations really matter; What is of paramount importance here is the jocular swagger with which Strickland orchestrates his madness, much of it provided with a score…reveling in distorted, abstract fry-and-bubble noise.”
With a degree of self-referential artistry that defines Strickland’s stock and trade, river gourmet delivers a series of zany left-field developments, whether it’s Billy recounting a childhood encounter with an omelette chef that forever rocked his psychosexual world, or Elle’s decision to smear something on himself in front of an audience that contained feces appears to be an act of arson. The entire film is told from the point of view of Stone (Makis Papadimitriou), a “hackwriter” hired by Jan to document the thoughts, feelings and actions of the collective, whom he interviews one-by-one. Stone admits that he is not a journalist and does not know the exact purpose he serves. He spends most of his time fretting over his incurable gas, which he explains at length, discussing how he hides the sounds and smells of his farts from those around him, and expressing his dismay at the ineptitude of the pompously scholarly Dr . Glock (Richard Bremmer) to find a cure for his bloating.
Stone’s inner suffering is a source of regular humor and, moreover, it’s responsive river gourmet‘s fascination with inner and outer artistic (and emotional) forms of expression and blockages. It also culminates in a public colonoscopy performed without anesthetic, with the insides of Stone’s organs projected onto a wall for all to see. While it’s not always easy to understand what Strickland is aiming for, that’s almost irrelevant since the madness of every incident, speech, and routine is so great that it’s comfortable enough just to go with the mad tide. From Christie’s cartoonishly outlandish costumes (including a hooded silk nightgown that makes her look war of stars‘ Bib Fortuna) to erotic cooking montages and performative border crossings, which are followed by dreamy orgies, river gourmet envisions the battles between art and commerce, the authentic and the gimmick, and collaboration and independence with witty boldness and at least one gastro-icky showstopper. Be sure to view it with an open mind – and on an empty stomach.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/flux-gourmet-is-a-gorgeous-gross-out-erotic-food-movie-that-will-floor-you?source=articles&via=rss Flux Gourmet is a beautiful, gross, erotic food movie that will blow your mind