Green Band Trailer

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: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we ingest the latest Frank Zappa documentary ahead of Alex Winter’s Kickstarted one, a look at an autistic boy who found sanctuary in Disney, try to make sense of something nearly senseless, break out the spray paint, and try to help women feel comfortable in whatever skin they’re in. 

Cosmos Trailer

15 years.

When you take 15 years off and you come back with this I would say it was well worth the wait. Director Andrzej Zulawski is not messing around and it looks like he’s taking a page out of the Yorgos Lanthimos and returning to a state of cinema where the bizarre is simply the lingua franca. I wish I could tell you how transgressive this looks and how masterfully Zulawski upends our bourgeois sensibilities of what we expect from our films, but I couldn’t tell you what in the hell I’m supposed to get out of this trailer. I mean, I’m all in and will absolutely welcome this into my life, but I don’t know, from a narrative perspective, what’s happening. As a piece of marketing it’s an absolute train wreck and fantastic marvel all the same time.

Life, Animated Trailer

Looks absolutely heartfelt.

There’s something to be said about documentaries that don’t focus on the more salacious/nefarious/depressing aspects of the human experience. While investigative documentaries that resonate with the power of their truth have an impact, so too can be a documentary that wants to tell a story. Academy Award winning director Roger Ross Williams interestingly looks at one boy’s journey through autism and focuses on telling that boy’s truth. The trailer powerfully captures how things changed for one family when their son developed autism, the ensuing helplessness, and the key that helped unlock a door through which they could connect with him. Sometimes it’s the promise of a story that could help elevate the spirit and deepen our collective emotional quotients, even when it sometimes feels like we’re at the nadir of our evolution, and I am hoping it can deliver on all of it.

Eat That Question Trailer

Besides, when /Film is quoted in the trailer, you best know you’ll see it here.

One of the things about director Thorsten Schütte being first to market in who can get a documentary about Frank Zappa out to the general public is just how tantalizingly interesting this looks. I would be the first person to say I don’t own anything made by the man or purport to “get” what other’s appreciate about his aural aesthetic but that doesn’t take away from the man who had a very measured way of looking at the world. In a landscape filled by phonies and flimflammers, when you watch this trailer his feeling, his emotions, his perspective just comes at you with all of its mustachioed might. I’m glad we’re going to get a couple of long-form looks at a guy that hasn’t faded from our pop culture view in the years he’s been gone as the trailer we get here quickly establishes why he was progressive then and why he’s still relevant now.

Wall Writers Trailer

Graffiti.

Director Roger Gastman, who was also producer of Exit Through the Gift Shop, is back on the spray paint trail with this story about the genesis of graffiti artistry. While there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of production value, there is a very raw look to the film that seems to balance history and personal reflection quite well. I’m not sure how deep down the rabbit hole this goes but it feels very specific about a very specific time and place.

Embrace Trailer 

There’s a but coming.

Yes, I absolutely believe in director/founder of The Body Image Movement Taryn Brumfitt’s mission. To continuously beat the drum of possessing a positive mental attitude about a woman’s physical shape. Specifically, the Movement says about itself:

We’re on a quest to redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty. Body Image Movement’s job is to harness and facilitate positive body image activism by encouraging women to be more accepting of who they are, to use positive language regarding their bodies and others, and to prioritise health before beauty. Our goal is to reach as many women as possible around the world and speak to them about how we can learn to fully embrace and love our bodies.

All of that is noble, noble work. The trailer, however, feels under produced and doesn’t really establish a powerful emotional narrative. We get a lot of wonderfully compelling messages about the ways in which women have had to comport their bodies with society’s expectations according to every visual advertisement ever but we don’t stay long enough to really get why this absolutely is a necessary dialogue in most every culture in the world. Without question I’ll be watching this and absorbing the sociological impacts of the messages that are put out into the ether for women to live up to. I just wish the editing, music and tempo of this trailer carried with it that same impact.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

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