Summertime trailer

Poetry received a high profile boost recently thanks to Amanda Gorman’s fiery, powerful poem she delivered at Joe Biden’s inauguration. So perhaps now is a good time to release the trailer for Summertime, a new film from Blindspotting director Carlos López Estrada. Sort of an anthology movie, the film follows 25 young people as they criss-cross their way across Los Angeles on a hot summer day. Check out the trailer below.

Summertime Trailer

I caught a screening of this at last year’s Sundance Film Festival when it debuted, and unfortunately, it didn’t work for me nearly as well as Blindspotting did. This trailer isn’t fully representative of just how much poetry there is in the film, which I suppose is understandable, since seeing snippets of poetry out of context in a trailer might rob some of the poems of their power. But that’s the crux of this movie, and indeed its entire reason for existing in the first place.

The director attended a spoken word poetry workshop in the summer of 2019 and was so inspired by what he heard that he decided to collaborate with the participants to incorporate their stories into a narrative feature. The resulting film feels like an anthology, following one character who earnestly bares their soul in verse, and then picking up with a different character passing by and following them for a while, until the same thing happens again.

“While the lyrical poeticism of Blindspotting worked in small doses – that film’s awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping climax bowls you over with its raw power and emotion – it doesn’t work as well in Summertime, where that heightened style is sustained over what feels like 90% of the movie,” I wrote in my review. “When so much of the story is told that way, it begins to lose the rarity that once made it feel special.” But López Estrada will be just fine: he’s one of the directors of Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, which comes out next month and seems destined to be an animated hit.

Here is the film’s official synopsis:

Over the course of a hot summer day in Los Angeles, the lives of 25 young Angelenos intersect. A skating guitarist, a tagger, two wannabe rappers, an exasperated fast-food worker, a limo driver—they all weave in and out of each other’s stories. Through poetry they express life, love, heartache, family, home, and fear. One of them just wants to find someplace that still serves good cheeseburgers.

Summertime will arrive in theaters sometime in summer 2021.

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