Offscreen

Nominated for Best Comedy Short

Directed by Giorgio Chiantese

17' • Italy • 2021

Language: Italian

Antonio, a professional actor, is hired as the main characterRocco in Una stanza per cinque sitcom. Due to script demands, one day his character leaves the ranks of the show with an immediate layoff. His life is turned upside down: victim of the show sudden and vast success, Antonio’s ego considerably enlarged, finding himself trapped in its developments. Unmotivated and without perspective, Antonio is more and more dominated by a chronic depression: withdrawn in his, by now, fruitlessly well decorated flat, he can’t find any consolation other than binge-watching the show he’s not being part of anymore, letting himself go and drowning his sorrows in alcoholism. One night Franco, a friend and former member of the show’s cast, rings his bell escorted by Patricia, a prostitute the man paid for pretending to be his girlfriend. During the improvised dinner with his two unexpected guests, Antonio starts hearing weird laugh sounds, incredibly similar to the sitcom laugh track. These noises grew as they show in Antonio’s ears during the more disparate occasions and inconvenient situations, slowly becoming a grotesque background noise of his everyday life. Even during his grieving speech for Franco’s funeral, suicide’s victim, he’s tortured by the morbose and growing sound of laughs that leads him to feeling lightheaded. Suddenly, Franco sits up in his coffin, annoyed by Antonio’s mistakes in telling his lines, a voice-over calls stop and every actor exits their character. Antonio, astonished, stays motionless in his spot, shocked by his incapacity in distinguishing truth and fiction.