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 massage our way to wellness, wonder what kind of kompromat Putin has on Trump, uncover the video ramblings of a nutty farmer, discover beauty through art and cinema, and then leave it all on the mat.
Agents of Chaos
Director Alex Gibney is back to put all the puzzle pieces together.
Agents of Chaos, a two-part documentary from director Alex Gibney examines Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Featuring interviews with key players and experts, classified information leaked by inside sources, and more, the film disentangles the complex details of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and highlights the frightening vulnerabilities in America’s political process.
The film is a product of years of reporting. With never-before-seen footage inside the Russian troll farms, and videos unearthed from the Russian deep web, the film digs deep into Russia’s sophisticated plans to undermine democracy, raising the alarm for the American public, but also proving that these “agents of chaos” weren’t Russians alone; they were also key players in the United States who, through venality, corruption or circumstance, furthered Putin’s goals, with a vulnerable and unsuspecting American public as their target.
These kind of documentaries feel exciting. If you watched Citizen K, you already know Gibney has been working in Russia to talk about what Putin is capable of doing. While the trailer is unquestionably going to appeal to one side of the aisle (those who know that there was a thumb put on the scale during the last election), the way the story is framed should be concerning for anyone looking toward this November.
A Life on the Farm
Director Oscar Harding is probably the best person to tell this bizarre story.
The Found Footage Festival is proud to announce a new documentary called “A Life On The Farm,” which seeks to uncover the mysteries behind a strange videotape found in rural England.
[Director] Oscar Harding’s grandfather passed away in the rural country of Somerset, England a decade ago. Amongst his possessions was a video tape from one of his neighbors, an eccentric farmer named Charles Carson. Self-shooting, editing and scoring everything manually, Charles’ home movie is hilarious, imaginative and downright weird.
A Life On The Farm is an exploration and celebration of Charles Carson and his movies, which present a moving and laugh-out-loud document of a time and place in danger of being lost to history.
Being a fan of the Found Footage Festival, the content that usually bubbles up from them involves odd, fringe, yet satisfying, material. The trailer tees up the narrative about a farmer with a weird sense of humor about as straight-forward as you could do it. It’s the allure of who this guy was and the fact that this content was made for a single person who never shared it beyond his four walls. Wild.
Anyone who was a fan of director Dorota Kobiela’s Loving Vincent looks like they’ll be equally pleased with her latest effort (via FirstShowing.net):
‘The Peasants’ is the latest film from Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated director Dorota Kobiela. Following on the success of her previous film ‘Loving Vincent’, ‘The Peasants’ will be produced in the same painting technique that won the hearts of fans around the world. Watch the concept trailer of the new movie, which once again brings paintings to life to tell a powerful emotional story.
‘The Peasants’ is based upon the Nobel Prize-winning novel by Wladyslaw Reymont. It is a tragic story of a peasant girl Jagna forced to marry a much older, wealthy farmer Boryna, despite her love for his son Antek. With time, Jagna becomes the object of envy and hate of the villagers and has to fight to preserve her independence. Set in the Polish countryside on the cusp of the 19th and 20th Centuries, the story’s dramatic turns tie into the changing seasons, hard labour in the fields and traditional local holidays.
It’s fairytale-like in its presentation. It’s hypnotic in its use of color and motion. We get right to the heart of the story and understand what’s at stake for her, for the village she lives in, and it’s glorious. It possesses elements of a narrative you would expect to find in a bookwhile also looking like an animated version of one. For animated movies that suffer from uncanny valley, this is one of the best approximations for the world that exists between animation and reality.
Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro
Director Michael Paszt is taking us to the mat.
Semi-retired professional wrestler Ian Hodgkinson reveals the harsh realities behind the glamour of being in the world of wrestling as the infamous ‘Vampiro’.
A Lucha Libre legend, Hodgkinson tells the astonishing story about his meteoric rise to fame in the 90’s and how it almost killed him. Yet none of that was as back-breaking as his current life – working behind-the-scenes as the Director of Talent for Lucha Libre AAA in Mexico City and Lucha Underground in Los Angeles, while simultaneously raising his teenage daughter Dasha in remote Northern Canada as a single parent.
Unlike many professional wrestling documentaries before, director Michael Paszt has constructed a fascinating and heartfelt look at a wrestler who has overcome and continues to battle with physical injuries, sexual abuse, and drug addiction. Not to mention the wild stories of working for Milli Vanilli, and wrestling alongside the punk rock band The Misfits – Vampiro’s stories are multi-faceted and completely enthralling.
Told through an engrossing collection of home videos and personal interviews with his closest friends and family, NAIL IN THE COFFIN is an intimate and genuine look into a single father grappling with fame, the pressures of professional and personal responsibilities, and his own mortality.
Much like the fantastic documentary Fake It So Real, a movie about wannabe independent wrestlers, there’s something very real about what is actually very fake. It’s the juxtaposition of these two truths that makes this a must-see for me. It’s got drama, regret, pride, hope, loss, and everything you would want out a human-interest story about someone you know nothing about. This is about as no-brainer as it gets as this trailer leverages pull-quotes, a great narrative hook, and enough real-talk to keep you engaged all the way through.
Never Gonna Snow Again
Directed by Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert, you’re looking at Poland’s official entry to the Academy Awards.
A masseur from the East enters the lives of the rich residents of a bland, walled off community. Despite their wealth, the residents emit an inner sadness, a longing. The mysterious newcomer’s hands heal, his eyes seem to penetrate their souls. To them, his Russian accent sounds like a song from the past, a memory of their seemingly safer childhood. Zhenia, for this is his name, changes their lives.
Movies about class warfare are all the rage, and this looks to be no different in deconstructing the wealthy and elite. Short of painting all of these people with a broad brush, as this is doing, I’m hoping that there is some nuance and empathy employed in picking apart what looks like the well-heeled citizenry of this small enclave. It’s the cheeky approach, its use of “Peer Gynt Suite No.1” to keep things lively, that elevates the content. I’m won over by its charm and its promise that. while the rich keep getting richer, there is always something more to be said about that.
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 [email protected] or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp
In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:
- The Forty-Year Old Version Trailer – Pass
- Making the Witcher Trailer – Not a fan of the show, and this looks just as silly
- Ammonite Trailer – You have my attention
- Enola Holmes Trailer – You had me all the way until Hole started playing
- Raised By Wolves Trailer – Still not sure about this
- David Byrne’s American Utopia Trailer – About what I expected
- Come Play Trailer – Babadook-lite
- His Dark Materials Season 2 Trailer – Looks to be more of the same
- The Babysitter: Killer Queen Trailer – GTFOH
- The Social Dilemma Trailer – Without question, required viewing
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