Fewer trailers

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 try to stop progress, attempt to forge a fond with those who protect and serve, see how gender disparity plays out in Finland, and check-in with Gary Busey who is all about the animals.

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace

Director Lulu Wei is capturing a moment in time.

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace looks at the transformation of a much-loved Toronto landmark, the Honest Ed’s block, through the stories of its community members who are forced to relocate when it is sold to a developer. The film chronicles the evolution of their lives as they reconcile their history with the future, all while facing the biggest housing crisis the country has ever seen.

There are so many themes to unpack here, but I’m bowled over at how excited this trailer made me. From gentrification to real estate, to public housing, this narrative has it all. It might just be this one store on this one block in Toronto, but this is emblematic of something that is happening all over. It should light a fire under anyone who wants progress but doesn’t want to make it at the expense of so many others.

Our Law

Director Cornel Ozies is here with something timely.

At Western Australia’s first Indigenous-run police station, two officers learn language and culture to help them police one of the most remote beats in the world.

The WA Police Force publicly admit they have a troubled past when it comes to policing Indigenous communities. They’re taking a different approach in Warakurna, a town of around 200 inhabitants, 330 kilometres west of Uluru. Sergeant Wendy Kelly, a Noongar woman with over 20 years in the service, is trying to learn the local Ngaanyatjarra language, encouraging her colleague to do likewise. Senior Sergeant Revis Ryder, a Noongar man and one-time East Fremantle player, can only coach the local footy team by relying on local elders and community to translate his instructions. Cornel Ozies’s inspiring documentary reveals their dogged attempts to understand language and the local lore, so they can police effectively, and replace the historical black and white enforcement approach of the past.

On the surface, this seems anathema to what we’ve seen play out this week. Police understanding the community they serve, to understand those they’ve sworn to help, almost doesn’t seem real. Still, messages of how to reckon with the past and what can be done to make a better future are important. At 27 minutes, it’s going to have to pack a lot of history and hope into a tight runtime.

Force of Habit

Seven directors from Finland, Reetta Aalto, Alli Haapasalo, Anna Paavilainen, Kirsikka Saari, Miia Tervo, Elli Toivoniemi, and Jenni Toivoniemi, are making a statement.

Seven Finnish women directors question gender stereotypes and the way women’s lives are conditioned in a post-#MeToo era in this clever, provocative fictional anthology.

Force of Habit follows the stories of six different women at various stages of life, in both private and public spaces. From casual sexual harassment by strangers in restaurants; sinister workplace practices; inadequacies of the legal system; and to troublesome behaviour in the supposedly more progressive world of the arts, the film matter-of-factly catalogues habitual acts of discrimination. Sometimes, these incidents appear to be minor or commonplace. Sometimes devastating. They all convey how society appears to have gotten used to gender disparity. The overall effect of these women’s stories is powerfully indelible.

This trailer is powerful. It’s so tightly edited that there is zero slack or room for anything else. It conveys emotion through pacing and the small moments that it shares. There is a multitude of stories that are being told here, but the through-line connecting them all is bigger than geography, it’s universal. It might very well be one of the best trailers I’ve seen all year.

Gary Busey: Pet Judge

You’ve literally never seen Gary Busey like this before.

You’re about to meet people with some serious pet problems. Good thing there’s an iron hand of pet justice out to set things straight. They may think they’re ready, but I guarantee you, they’re not. They’re about to go toe-to-toe with the silver fox of jurisprudence. It’s the honorable Gary Busey, Pet Judge!

Honestly, I needed this. This is like a reward for getting kicked in the teeth this week by life. It’s strange, the trailer has no cohesion whatsoever, but I love it. Who would have guessed that this is where Mr. Joshua would end up in life? As weird as it is, we’re all the better for having this out there in the ether.

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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