Thursday, January 31, 2008

Trailer (s) of the Week: Where Roman Has Gone Before

Firstly, you like the title there, huh? Yeah, I went there, there being puns-ville.

Now on to the matter at hand, last week in my review of Tess I commented that while I felt the film was solid overall, the direction lacked that certain Roman Polanski feel. This week I provide two examples of said Polanski feel and an interesting and entertaining dichotomy of how they were marketed to the public.

Exhibit A:

Repulsion (1965) trailer

Polanski's first film made outside of his native country Poland is also the first of a thematic series of film, sometimes referred to as "The Apartment trilogy", each dealing with sexually and/or emotionally repressed women (okay, in The Tenant it's actually a man, played by Polanski himself, who believes he's turning into a woman) who find themselves in solitude in their apartments that become their personal prisons where they slowly but surely become unhinged to the point of violence.

In the trailer for Repulsion, the distributor decided to downplay the methodical pacing of Catherine Deneuve's slow dissent into madness and advertise it more as a sexy thrill-a-minute romp complete with a jazzy drum beat you can dance to and that classic 60's drive-in era horror movie narration.

Exhibit B:

Rosemary's Baby (69) trailer

Like Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby, Polanski's first American film (produced by the kid himself, Robert Evans) depicts a woman in solitude slowly losing grip of her sanity in her increasingly claustrophobic apartment. Part horror/suspense but also very much part comedy, Polanski juggles issues as disperate as abandonment, the negative effects of career focus on marriage, generational distrust and of course, satanism! It's a wholly unique symbiosis and surprisingly, considering its an American studio funded horror film, so is the trailer. With the exception of the opening, the trailer contains no dialogue from the film as it intercuts between a pop-art collage of film highlights set to a psychedelic rock instrumental and a physical recreation of the famous poster image of a baby carriage on top of a hill, with a dread filled ambient score. Standing alone, it's the rare trailer that manages to achieve the level of an experimental masterpiece evoking the avant garde sensibility of the era, even if the purest in me wishes they found a way to incorporate the Krzysztof Komeda score and the "la la la" refrain.

So how do you like your Polanski "woman unraveling in her apartment" trailers? Arty or exploitative?

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