Written and directed by Arthur Patching and Christian Serritiello, an artist is forced to journey into an unknown world far from home to retrieve her stolen work. Starring: Carrie Getman, Christian Serritiello, Tomas Spencer, Daniel Brunet, Jade Willis and Simone Spinazze.
Comedies in today’s landscape tend to go down quite a predictable route, the only risks they’re generally willing to take is by letting the humour get a little outrageous whereas there’s occasional examples, like this film, which instead try to be entirely original. However, the reason why a lot of studios won’t take that route is because you quite quickly make the film less accessible to a wider audience and that’s one of the issues at play here. The writing style may step too far outside of the box for some people and the strength of its comedy is quite varied throughout, some of it works a lot better than others. It takes a little too long to settle down into the main vein of its story, the quickly jutting around of its earlier scenes feels at odds with the more extended sequences in its latter half. At times it can also feel slightly repetitive, although unexpectedly adding an animated portion is a delightful surprise that breaks things up nicely.
Patching and Serritiello’s direction feels along the lines of what you’d expect, it plays around with different angles, it gets purposely close to throw its viewers off-balance and feed into its use of discomfort. It’s another aspect that has varied success, discomfort has a part to play in comedy but it’s a difficult thing to strike the right note with and not every attempt hits the perfect chord. One particular scene involving a very adamant woman playing a lyre (or a similar instrument) almost feels reminiscent of What We Do in the Shadows, in a wacky sort of way and its choice of camera movement. A lot of the style does throwback to the stylings of comedy its paying homage to from the 60s or 70s, especially in regard to its score.
With a film like this where everything is intended to be off the wall and absurd, it’s often hard to judge the performances of whether they’re squarely where they should be or if they’re pushing it too much. In this case, none of the performances stand out as going over the line or bringing too manic of an energy, they fit the style that the writing and direction have set out for them. Although, at the same time there isn’t a particular performance that stands out above the rest, it’s an ensemble piece and the acting is sincerely a team effort.
Gelateria takes a big risk and tries to make something that’s simultaneously new and throws back to stylings from the 60s and 70s, and regardless of it’s flaws, it does achieve that. The comedy could be stronger or more consistent throughout and the story’s progression could be more evenly balanced to strike a bigger impact but it is inherently original. It won’t work for everyone but it’s different and if you’re a fan of comedy that moves away from the norm and plays with discomfort, then you should check it out.