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 dance our way through existential sadness, get happy by checking in with Udo Kier, take a seriously long holiday in Italy, stay wonderfully confused about what a conscripted cow is, and then throw it back to Russia in the early 80s for some pop pleasure.

Mari

Echoes of 2011’s Pina pepper this gem from director Georgia Parris. This movie’s blending of deep, dramatic themes with expressive, emotive dance is devastating in how well it all works.

Charlotte (Bobbi Jene Smith), a successful contemporary dancer, is thriving in London. With her latest show just days away from opening night, she receives news that her grandmother, Mari (Paddy Glynn), is dying. Dropping everything, she heads to Dorset to join her mother (Phoebe Nicholls) and sister (Madeline Worrall), but on arrival she discovers she’s unexpectedly pregnant. Initially set on a termination, Charlotte starts to doubt herself as she watches her family contemplate losing their matriarch.

The use of dance as a vehicle to express emotion works well in this trailer. This is such a tiny yet explosive movie, perhaps destined to come and slowly fade away from our cinematic memory just as soon as it bows. However, here’s to the filmmakers giving it the best chance possible to be seen.

Bacurau

Directors Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho have made something that not even I can adequately describe with a straight face.

Described as a mixture of western, adventure and sci-fi, Bacurau is set in a small town in the Brazilian backlands that disappears from the map after the death of a woman at the age of 94. Sonia Braga, Udo Kier and Karine Teles lead the cast.

This trailer is just bananas for it follows no narrative structures at all, ditches the tried-and-true route of trying to establish some context around a foreign idea, and instead sells itself wholly on charm. Congrats, it worked.

Happy Winter

Director Giovanni Totaro has hit a nerve. When thinking about documentaries that take snapshots of everyday life to illustrate a larger point, it would be easy to focus on the United States, if only to show the wide variety of walks of life. However, what’s sumptuous here is that as we’re delving into a different middle-class, in a different country, we can easily see ourselves reflected in this narrative.

Every summer on Mondello Beach in Palermo, more than a thousand cabins are erected to house the same number of groups of bathers who will spend the season in them. For these people the “huts” are the perfect setting in which to hide behind the memory of a social status that the crisis of recent years has undermined. A family gets into debt to go on a seaside vacation and to look well-off among the bathers, three women sunbathe in order to feel as if they are still young and to become the stars of the summer, while on the same beach a barman thinks about earning as much money as possible to get through the winter. Everyone is waiting for the night of August 15 to play a leading role in the summer Vanity Fair and to keep on pretending that the economic crisis doesn’t exist.

It’s that last sentence that shook me because this trailer zeroes in on appearances of economic struggle and how you can boil it all down to this one place.

Monos

Here’s the second trailer this week that defies normal logic, thanks to director Alejandro Landes is here to lay down something nutty. Here’s the brief synopsis:

On a faraway mountaintop, eight kids with guns watch over a hostage and a conscripted milk cow.

I wish I could somehow figure out what all this hill-people nonsense means and how it relates to what we’re seeing, but this trailer still satisfies. The editing elegantly takes us from moment to moment with no context, yet we’re not confounded. A little Lord of the Flies-ish, this story might deal with notions of power and control but, even if it doesn’t, what’s here is still nice to admire. 

Leto

Even if no one else saw it, director Kirill Serebrennikov’s movie The Student was an accomplishment, and I am here for his follow up.

Avant-garde Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov (The Student) returns to the big-screen with a tribute to the early years of Russian rock. Leningrad, in the summer, early eighties. Smuggling LP’s by Lou Reed and David Bowie, the underground rock scene is boiling ahead of Perestroika. Mike and his beautiful wife Natasha meet with young Viktor Tsoï. Together with friends, they will change the trajectory of rock n’roll music in the Soviet Union.

This feels, looks, and acts much different from his previous movie, but the trailer is something close to a celebration. Celebrating a different time, a different place, yet tinged with the emotions and actions that replay themselves again and again regardless of time or space. Still, I’m enamored. 

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 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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