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 read a book, try and speak about love through images, remember never to get caught with drugs in the Philippines, and think about water a little differently.

306 Hollywood

This trailer’s elegance is rivaled only by its uniqueness. While directors Elan Bogarin and Jonathan Bogarin have a story to tell it’s the way in which they want to tell it that makes this so remarkable.

Siblings Elan and Jonathan Bogarín undertake an archaeological excavation of their late grandmother’s house in search of what life remains in the objects we leave behind. ‘306 Hollywood’ transforms the dusty fragments of an unassuming life into an epic metaphor for the nature of memory, time and history.

It’s almost like this movie has its own visual language. It is communicating through objects, through inference, and it’s touching as you listen to the story. The vibrancy of it all is just sumptuous while there being a deep and profound sadness at the periphery of it all.

On The President’s Orders

What directors James Jones and Olivier Sarbil aim to do here is send a message. While drug policies across the world differ depending on where you live, there is no question that this documentary of what is happening with addicts and drug dealers in the Phillipenes is gripping all on its own.

The searing story of President Duterte’s bloody campaign against drug dealers and addicts in the Philippines, told with unprecedented and intimate access to both sides of the war – the Manila police, and an ordinary family from the slum. Shot in the style of a thriller, this observational film combines the look and feel of a narrative feature film with a real-life revelatory journalistic investigation into a campaign of killings. The film uncovers a murky world where crime, drugs and politics meet in a deathly embrace – and reveal that although the police have been publicly ordered to stop extra-judicial killings, the deaths continue.

The slow, unnerving dramatic build as the narrative unwinds is incredible. Just when you think it’s a story about what one president is doing to drug dealers and drug users, the trailer takes a slow, sinister swerve into oncoming traffic. The visual and political chaos that ensues is almost too incredible, but it’s all there in its pathetic disappointment. To see a populace terrorized for a war that will never be won there, or anywhere, is heartbreaking.

Aquarela

Visually, there is something wildly satisfying about this. Director Victor Kossakovsky has made a movie about water, and I am here for it.

Water is the main protagonist, seen in all its great and terrible beauty. Mountains of ice move and break apart as if they had a life of their own. Kossakovsky’s film travels the world, from the precarious frozen waters of Russia’s Lake Baikal and Miami in the throes of Hurricane Irma, to Venezuela’s mighty Angel Falls in order to paint a portrait of this fluid life force in all its glorious forms. Fragile humans experience life and death, joy and despair in the face of its power.

Planet Earth, Samsara, any number of nature documentaries that want to be something more than what you would find on NatGeo are all welcomed here. This is soothing viewing and, somehow, bananas at the same time. The hard-driving rock score, the visuals that don’t seem to share anything in common, it’s a trailer struggling with an identity, but it’s a unique one to be sure.

Ferrante Fever

One of the challenges that director Giacomo Durzi had to contend with is that many of us dunno who Elena Ferrante is. That part is a little murky but, what’s not murky, is that this an author who has had an incredible global impact. I am struck by how profound the works of Ferrante have struck the authors I admire. I’d never heard of Ferrante, but this trailer gingerly takes us down a path of setting up the story, taking us along on this strange little journey. It looks like a quiet little movie, and sometimes that’s OK.

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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