WHY AND WHEN DO WE CONSIDER A FILM “BEAUTIFUL” NOWADAYS? WHICH ARE THE POSITIVE AESTHETIC CRITERIONS FOR A MOVIE? FIRST OF ALL, THERE ARE MANY GENRES OF MOVIES AND DIFFERENT KINDS OF SPECTATORS AND CRITICS, SO NOTHING IN CINEMA CAN BE IDENTIFIED AS “UNIVERSAL”. THAT’S TRUE NOW MORE THAN EVER, AS UNIVERSALITY SEEMS TO GIVE UP TO PECULIARITY. BUT IS THIS REALLY THE CASE?
Movie trailers are the vehicle that cinema industry employs in order to communicate the quality, the “beauty” of an upcoming film, trying to highlight the positive aspects which may attract the audience to the theaters. But who’s its audience? And how large is it? The trailer phenomenon got an efficient diffusion thanks to the Internet, which is the perfect platform for promotion. Theweb also changed its characteristics: the point is not anymore to simply present a new movie, but to create the so-called “hype” which makes a film an event, something to share and to talk about on social networks and online forums.
Expectation creates and feeds itself: mainstream works, big productions reveal their trailers during successful fairs such as the San Diego Comic-Con. Several trailers were released for Mad Max: Fury Road: which successfully attracted the old and a new audience. In April 2015, for the first time ever, a movie trailer was released through the Periscope app on Twitter: it was the trailer of The Gift by Joel Edgerton. The same is happening for TV Series, as for the first two episodes of The Young Pope, which were premiered during the 2016 Venice Film Festival. Or think about the advertising campaign for House of Cards, which went online with a website entirely dedicated to its main character, Frank Underwood. But actually it’s nothing new, since years have gone by the so-called hypertext phenomenon, almost more important than the text itself (which is unsatisfying most of the time). This happens because the expectations are so strong that imagination is beaten by its confrontation with reality of feature film.
But now it’s too late, the ticket has been paid, the website has been viewed, the video has been clicked. And how these trailers are? They anticipate but don’t explain anything, they show ambiguous details then explode into chaotic action and high volume music. They excite fans suggesting characters and plots that may be completely ignored once the movie is released. Those spectacular images wink to the audience who already knows what’s going on screen. But that’s the “beauty” we were previously talking about? There’s curiosity, wait, visual or audio stimulation, imagination, magnificent set design and cinematography, use of advanced CGI, but if we think to the canon of “beauty” in a film, we’ll be easily left unsatisfied because of the script or production – because of its story.
Trailers and feature films have a strong bond, one cannot exist without the other, but maybe, for some movies and for certain kind of audience, trailers mean much more than the final movie. Trailers ignite fantasy, debates, clicks, a virtual word of mouth, even physical communion of people who meet at special events. That’s the actual beauty audience can find today, and is more powerful and intense than the typical screening where the movie – the so craved opera – is consumed.
Text by Alessandro Altobello