Director Scott Gawlik / 2021 / USA

In the ruthless world of competitive table-setting, it’s knives at 20 places.

You might think setting the table before a meal is just a practicality, maybe an outdated ostentatious ceremony, or even a chore. But, within a subculture of dedicated ‘tablescapers’, table-setting is a serious competitive pursuit. Their elaborate, innovatively themed creations reveal their artistry; sometimes, they even make bold statements. And as nine competitors prepare for the Orange County Fair – considered the ‘Olympics of table-setting’ – the pressure is on to position themselves as the finest of their kind around.

Scott Gawlik’s absorbing feature debut plays like a real-life version of a Christopher Guest mockumentary – the elite table-setters he follows relish in their eccentric vocation and cutthroat plans for success – yet he approaches them with an honest, sensitive curiosity. The precision they strive for is also deeply satisfying: in an uncertain world, there’s always the supreme smoothness of table linen and the magic of a perfectly aligned spoon, not to mention the genuinely social aspect of coming together for a beautifully presented feast.

“Full of passion and drama, colour and conflict – and it’ll have you thinking twice about how to properly fold your napkin.” – Toronto Sun

Please note: The Friday 13 August (10am) session at Pentridge Cinema will be a Crybaby Session.

Back To Index