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 get a double shot of caffeine, get a peek behind the scenes at those who help make the magic happen, eat the rich, invest in a fake piece of art, and take a fond look back…at a truck stop.

El Toro

A trailer that will melt your third eye, director Danielle Sturk could not have chosen, on its surface, a more mundane subject.

A loving meditation on the ugliest truck stop diner in 1960 industrial Saint-Boniface, run by Joe and Roma DeGagné and their eight children.

This viewing experience turns into something close to a heartfelt look back at a singular place in the world, through time, and infused with a kind of reverence usually reserved for something holy. Using a variety of storytelling and filmmaking techniques, it might be one of the best trailers I’ve seen this year.

Baristas

Who would have thought that there would be enough material to create a sequel to the documentary Barista? Director Rock Baijnauth is here with more about the surprisingly competitive world of baristas. To be honest, there’s a charm to what’s in this trailer. Whether it’s cup stacking or a Pinewood Derby, if you can find narrative hook, something can always be dramatic. And, I think he found one:

Four passionate National Barista Champions from different parts of the globe struggle to prove themselves as they represent their country and their craft, competing to win the World Barista Championship in Seoul, South Korea.

It’s that sense of competition that propels this trailer. The stakes are so low, but for those involved, it’s something that drives them. You’re either in or you’re out on this merely based on the content. But coming from someone who hasn’t ever had a cup of coffee, I’m in on this.

There Are No Fakes

We all know how people can get taken when it comes to fakes, but when you rip off the wealthy, it seems to have more importance. Enter director Jamie Kastner and this story that involves the Barenaked Ladies. Here’s the official synopsis:

Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird) is arguably the most influential Indigenous artist in Canada, commonly referred to as the founder of the Woodlands style. After spending $20,000 at a reputable Toronto gallery to purchase Spirit Energy of Mother Earth, Kevin Hearn (of the Barenaked Ladies) was surprised to discover his Morrisseau canvas was a counterfeit. His decision to sue the art dealer spurs an investigation into the painting’s provenance, and so begins the unravelling of an art fraud ring with fighting factions, all claiming to be the true protectors of the Anishinaabe painter’s legacy—and all of whom happen to be white.

The trailer has a lot of ground to cover with explaining what has brought us all together, but the story is utterly delicious. The rich guy getting hoodwinked, him realizing it, going after the perpetrators of the crime, and it busting open something even more than anyone probably would have expected.

Backstage Action

An incredible experience, both visually and aurally, director Sanaz Azari is here to deconstruct extras in this trailer.

This is de facto a film about a film, with the only difference being that the focus is exclusively on the extras. They are filmed while waiting to take their turn, while conversing with others, and thinking about their performances.

Specifically, it’s that feeling of being lost as the trailer unfolds that provides such joy. When so many other trailers want to compress everything it wants to tell you within two minutes and thirty seconds this one rebukes that philosophy. It lets you peer into this universe without context. Wonderfully, it leaves you alone to take it all in.

Inside Lehman Brothers

You can still be mad as hell about Wall Street’s grift on the American public, and director Jennifer Deschamps wants to stoke that smoldering ember.

Ten years after the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, questions still linger over whether insiders could see it coming or do more to stop it. Inside Lehman Brothers is an involving autopsy of what led to the largest bankruptcy filing in US history. The film profiles several insiders who had early warning signs about the dangers of subprime mortgages and tried to sound alarms from within. The stories of these whistleblowers deepen our understanding of the mindset that caused the crash and serve as a stark warning for the future.

You should sense the abject impunity that these banks had, and still have, when you see how they operate. It’s dense, but these stories never fail when it comes to getting down to the bottom line of what’s at stake. For them, for us, and the implications it had on a global scale.

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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