Edinburgh International Film Festival Schedule: August 14

Fatma Mohamed (centre) in Flux Gourmet by Peter Strickland

I discovered idiosyncratic British filmmaker Peter Strickland when his debut film Katalin Varga played at the FEI in 2009, but it was his second feature, the giallo outrageous horror riff Berberian Sound Studio, that really started to piss him off. earn his worship. This film had its world premiere at the Festival in 2012. One person in the audience that night was Fatma Mohamed. She had had a scene in Katalin Varga, but Strickland had enjoyed working with her so much that he asked the Romanian actor if she could speak other languages. She told him Italian, and he said his next movie was about an Italian film production, so she became Berberian Sound Studio’s scream queen. Alas, she wasn’t high enough on the cast list to warrant an invite to the premiere, so she flew to London and hopped on a bus to Edinburgh. “I paid for my ticket myself,” she smiles. “This time I was invited.”

In fact, she has. By the time you read this, she’ll be in Edinburgh for the UK premiere of Strickland’s Flux Gourmet, a twisting tale of music, food and creative tension. Mohamed plays Elle di Elle, the uncompromising leader of a group of “sonic caterers” – performance artists who make avant-garde music from food. The film marks his fifth collaboration with Strickland. “We feed each other,” she says of their partnership, which also includes Le Duc de Bourgogne and In Fabric. Even by those bizarre standards, however, she feels that Flux Gourmet is there. “Especially the pieces with the feces,” she laughs. She references a scene where her character smears herself in chocolate mousse and pretends it’s human feces. “I was like, ‘Peter, what are you doing with me?’ But it’s strange, for an actor, the weirder a situation is, the more attractive it is to us.

Flux Gourmet will be screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on August 14 and 15. For more information and tickets visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk

Gerald R. Schneider