Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Trailer Park Tuesday: Four New Messages by Joshua Cohen

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.  Unless their last name is Grisham or King, authors will probably never see their trailers on the big screen at the local cineplex.  And that's a shame because a lot of hard work goes into producing these short marriages between book and video.  So, if you like what you see, please spread the word and help these videos go viral.

Gritty, haunting, unrelenting--just a few words to describe the trailer for Joshua Cohen's quartet of stories, Four New Messages, published by Graywolf Press last month.  At first, I was a little put off by the video, thinking it was a little slow and showed the strains of trying to be a Serious Art Film ("Sundance, here I come!").  But you know what?  Since then, I've come back to this video multiple times, drawn deeper and deeper into its spell with each viewing.  The short film, directed by Brian Spinks, stars Alex Karpovsky (from the HBO series Girls) as a drug dealer named Richard Monomian.  How can I remember the character's name so easily?  It's repeated to us several times by the voice-over narrator who is typing at her keyboard as she tells us the story of Richard Monomian's disastrous appearance at a party where he brought "snax," drugs that are "OK price but also of crackhead quality."  The trailer is based on one of the "messages" in Cohen's book, "Emissions."  In that story, according to the publisher's plot synopsis, "a hapless drug dealer in Princeton is humiliated when a cruel co-ed exposes him exposing himself on a blog gone viral."  The trailer hints at that over-exposure incident, but cuts away before we see the act in question.  It's not always an easy video to watch, but I guarantee that, love it or hate it, you won't be able to shake it from your mind.  It stays with you, like that ghostly aftertaste of last night's cigarettes in your mouth.

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