There are trailers that tower so monumentally over their host films that make you wish you’d never seen the movies they promoted. The trailer for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, for instance, the one featuring New Order’s “Age of Consent.” There is a heart-racing beauty and dying star sadness to this and a feeling at certain moments—such as the running-down-the-steps sequence beginning at around :22—that the trailer has captured a feeling of exhuberance that you forgot, in the cynicism of this world, was possible. Or an early trailer for Panos Cosmatos’s Beyond the Black Rainbow, so trippy and otherwordly that you knew from the first moments that the film itself would not compare, and that in its strange folds and depths, the trailer offered a truer version of the film than the film itself.
But there is also a rarer sort of trailer, one that hints at the secret interiors of the film, as if the film had withheld a part of itself for the trailer only. Movies, excepting single-take, no-edit films like Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark, already hopscotch through time and space, bending and shaping both in the service of narrative. Trailers do this one level deeper, taking a story that is already by its nature out of time and further wrecking its relationship to linear chronology. Presented out of order, the images in a good trailer suggest a weirdly tyrannical, yet false, coherence.