Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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The Cannes jury, headed by Robert De Niro, has selected the winners of this year’s competition slate, and the results are slightly surprising. In the early days of the fest two films quickly emerged as seeming front-runners for the top prize, Lynne Ramsay‘s We Need to Talk About Kevin and Michel Hazanavicius‘ silent black and white film The Artist, but the Palme d’Or went instead to Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life.

The slate of winners was surprisingly tipped towards American films and talent, or films that played very specifically towards American tendencies in a way that isn’t quite typical for a Cannes awards slate. The full list of winners is after the break. Read More »

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