This Week In Trailers: America To Me, Jeune Femme, Hunt For The Skinwalker, The Public Image Is Rotten, Kanarie

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 go to France to meet a free spirit, try to understand Johnny Rotten's charm, don't ask and don't tell our way into the armed services, indulge in some conspiracy theory nonsense for fun, and let teens drive the conversation when dealing with race.

America to Me

There is no argument as to what is my most anticipated docuseries this summer. Oscar-nominated director Steve James (Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) and co-director Bing Liu keep their attention focused in a Chicago, this time in suburban Oak Park, as they look at high school kids. The theme here is race and how teens navigate the subject within an elite high school that is majority white. As a 10-part docuseries, there is no question that there is ample room to explore this topic at great length. It's a tough subject, but I'm eager to be open and listen to what these teens are saying.


If there any Bronski Beat fans in the house you'll sincerely appreciate director Christiaan Olwagen's hauntingly scored trailer. The movie, "is a coming-of-age musical war drama, about a young boy who discovers how through hardship, camaraderie, first love, and the liberating freedom of music, the true self can be discovered." That logline not only gets me going, but the trailer is fantastic. It's jaw-dropping that these kinds of films about individuals who have to hide a part of themselves for fear of horrible reprisal. The trailer ramps up slowly until it crescendos like crashing waves by the end. The editing is fantastic.

The Public Image is Rotten

Maybe I don't get the allure of Johnny Rotten. I don't have any animus or negative feelings about the man, but perhaps he is so punk that by being an irascible dude he is expertly executing on the punk ethos. Either way, director Tabbert Fiiller has me interested in getting a complete portrait of the man who has raised so much Cain.

After the breakup of the Sex Pistols, John Lydon / John Rotten, formed Public Image Ltd (PiL)– his groundbreaking band which has lived on nearly 15 times as long as his first one. He kept the band alive ever since, through personnel and stylistic changes, fighting to constantly reinvent new ways of approaching music, while adhering to radical ideals of artistic integrity. John Lydon has not only redefined music, but also the true meaning of originality.

It's an exciting proposition to try and get to the center of this guy. Maybe it will be as platitudinous and stale as Howard Stern's recent interview with David Letterman, but I'm willing to give this one a go.

Hunt For The Skinwalker

I've just got a soft spot for these kinds of documentaries. Maybe it's about that eternal yearning that there is something more out there, but director Jeremy Corbell's trailer is about what I would expect when it comes to this kind of thing. Talking heads, the whiffs that this is all real, the over-the-top graphical animation. I do not believe a lick of it, but it's all conspiratorial fun.

Jeune Femme

Without hesitation, I will seek this out. Sometimes a story is just so novel, it's presentation so fresh, that it will not be denied. Director Léonor Serraille is working through a story that, superficially, seems fairly basic. The movie, like its title, a young woman, is basically that. Not much to see here, right? But what makes this cinematic pitch so enticing is that it is so damn charming. We have a woman who is adrift and trying to find her place in the world. The fact that this takes place in France makes zero difference and, in fact, only reinforces the idea that we're all trying to do the best we can to get by.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers for possible inclusion in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

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

  • Juliet, Naked Trailer – Even for this cynic, I'm tickled by the premise
  • Summer of '84 Trailer - Doesn't feel very fresh in how it's presenting its wares
  • The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Trailer – Tonally, this is an awkward trailer
  • Skyscraper Trailer – Feel like I'm watching The Rock acting on a soundstage
  • Khali the Killer Trailer – The movie should just have remained available for free if the trailer is any indication
  • In-rang: The Wolf Brigade Trailer – Solid
  • Our House – I like where this is going
  • Jack Ryan Trailer 2 – Such a better trailer than the first one