A scene from “Tiramisu for Two” shot outside San Marcos’ iconic Yellow Store. PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY JORDAN BUCKLEY
Peter Gonzales portrays Valentino in the movie.
Film shot in San Marcos debuts this week at The Spot
Jordan Buckley - Special to the Record
A new yet already classic San Marcos-shot feature film will screen for a week beginning Monday, thanks to the wise experimentation of theater owner Mitchell Roberts in bringing “Tiramisu for Two” to EVO’s latest concept, The Spot.
The Springtown Center parking lot where the sleek theatre resides actually hosted a scene from the international film, which follows Giorgio, a wayward protagonist in Rome who resolves to pursue his long lost love: Hope, a San Marcos gal he met decades ago.
The delightfully goofy narrative rollicks onward by tagging along to work with Giorgio, gaunt, goateed and forever festooned in a bow-tie. There his supervisor presents the technophobe with a daunting device — a cell phone which, stunningly, he discovers may connect him to the unforgotten crush of his youth.
Yet a mischievous, faux-Italian chef Valentino — yes, the bogus owner of our town’s cherished 35-year-old pizzeria! — threatens Giorgio’s sacred mission. Peter Gonzales Falcon skillfully portrays Valentino, droll and dripping with sleaze.
It’s by no means his first Rome-themed film: Gonzales Falcon actually helmed the lead role in Federico Fellini’s Roma after dropping out of Texas State in 1968 as a senior. (Beset students, take note…)
He’s a guy who is funny without saying anything; upon first introduction his crooked, phony mustache resembles a drunken caterpillar, passed out sloppily on his lip.
Gonzales Falcon isn’t alone among Tiramisu cast members in having appeared in a Fellini film; Bobby Olson, who plays Giorgio, briefly appears in Casanova. For Olson, Tiramisu is a family affair: his wife Antonella, an Italian professor, has been deeply involved in the project and his daughter Romina serves as producer.
Further hilarity in the film stems from the depiction of Todd — your all-too-identifiable eccentric townie, a stand-in for those über-popular local characters — Frisbee Dan and Sun God come to mind — who truly make San Marcos what it is.
Though silly and surreal the sojourn may become, Giorgio’s fraught arrival to San Marcos nonetheless pecks at relatable feelings of loneliness, bewilderment, the self-paralysis of fear and, ultimately, the pursuit of hope.
Our hero Giorgio, a quixotic lovefool, ambles our town aimlessly in a pink hoodie —an iconic visual that rightly belongs in the hallowed treasure-box of great San Marcos-made cinematic imagery, alongside flesh-eating fish (Piranha), Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen plunging into the headwaters (The Getaway) and the titular character of Boyhood tromping his bike down an alleyway near the old courthouse.
A major component of the film’s enjoyability is a playful otherworldliness, in part embodied by an outsized lady crow: six-feet-tall and substantially beaked.
In real life, the prodigious bird was spotted at ArtWalk in January, encountering ornithologically-inclined painter Rene Perez at 218 Gallery: seemingly the bizarre rendezvous of a beloved local artist and a delegate from his flock of muses.
And yet another bird, of sorts, delivered uproariously: a fleeting advertisement for the Texas Law Hawk, masterfully aping the unique regional commercials of Lone Star State attorneys. It’s a touch — a humorous celebration of local culture, actually — that speaks volumes about the aim of Director Sergio Carvajal-Leoni.
Bucking the trend of trotting Tiramisu along the film festival circuit, Carvajal-Leoni’s vision is anchored in celebrating Central Texas storytelling and helping to foment a market for it, as evidenced in the pioneering collaboration with The Spot.
“I hope our project inspires other folks to tell stories that are based in this locality and thus have important geo-cultural depth, regardless of the genre and tone of story,” Carvajal-Leoni told me.
It’s a sentiment shared by Mitchell Roberts, the CEO of Evo Entertainment, operator of The Spot: “It just feels right — it was made here, financed here, produced here.”
If tickets sell during Tiramisu for Two’s theatrical run from Feb 6-12, The Spot has agreed to extend the film’s stay by another week — doubling the longevity of one of the first forays of independent cinema into Hays County theaters in recent memory.
Andrea Torres, a spokeswoman for the San Marcos Cinema Club, conveyed the film society’s joy at Evo’s decision to give Tiramisu for Two a shot: “One usually has to travel out of the city to get anything besides big-name, big-budget blockbusters. It’s nice to know that independent film is finally being recognized, and hopefully continually embraced, here in San Marcos.”