Short film post for Sunday funday.

*Current Cinema Dept: I don’t like many trailers. Not in that they drive me away from movies - the real problem is that nothing is really accomplished at all. There’s very little imagination to so many previews, and there’s so much repetition of the same old cliches and vanilla visual gimmicks - often, the very rhythm of the things turn me off, so ingrained into my skull are those worn editing beats. Really, they’ve formed their own awful genre of short film, as thick and heavy with trope and tactic as any feature genre, and that’s a grand failure. Trailers are meant to be advertisements for products, and most of them are failures to me in that I can’t even accept them as embodying the qualities of a film anymore; I only see them as their own creative units, which may or may not correspond to the feature they’re attempting to hype. Transparency is needed in these things, but it’s usually lacking for me.

But then, there are trailers that sink below even the withered average. Trailers that leave one’s mouth agape at their sheer miscalculation. It’s almost enticing, in that these previews brew in my belly a instant revulsion directed toward the film being advertised, a direct preview-to-film connection that’s frankly absent in much of the middle ground. Here is the most recent sampling of the awful class which I describe. Remember David Mamet’s criticism of Schindler’s List as “emotional pornography”? All I take from this trailer is that World Trade Center is sure to be the Behind the Green Door of the 2006 prestige picture season, and that’s a wicked little victory in a wicked little way.

*Prior Cinema Dept: But then, the internet can also bring us little films that are plain old awesome. Like this 1977 educational short, Powers of Ten, directed by Charles & Ray Eames with lovely music by Elmer Bernstein. Not all that much to it: the camera begins fixed on a happy couple having a picnic, pulls all the way up out of the park, out of the state, off the planet, back through the solar system, all the way back until the entire galaxy is but a blip in the distance, then plunges down like a cosmic flume ride through the light years, back down to Earth, back down to the picnic, then down through the skin of one of the picnickers, until a single carbon nucleus is reached. Highly impressive on a visual level, with the amiable voice of theoretical physics whiz and Manhattan Project group leader-turned-nuclear nonproliferation personality Philip Morrison providing a running commentary on what's going on in front of us; Morrison would later co-author a book of the same title, with a similar concept. Go watch it.