Trailer Placement of the Month, “Roma”
This month’s pick for exceptional use of music in a theatrical trailer is “Roma”- Alfonso Cuaron’s latest creation. Set in the early 1970s, “Roma” is a semi-biographical depiction of life for a middle-class family in Mexico City. The film follows the family as it experiences the strains of a struggling marriage, children coming of age, and the effects of the 1971 Corpus Christi massacre- a tragedy in which Mexican police dispatched to quell student protests resulted in more than 100 deaths. The film’s official trailer, created by LA’s own GrandSon Creative, makes excellent use of music to match not only the time period and style, but the drama of the story at hand.
GrandSon’s trailer opens with a pensive and somewhat dissonant solo piano playing over wide panning shots of idle environments. A man walks his bike down a quiet street; a woman sweeps an empty corridor; and children play with slot-cars in an otherwise motionless apartment. The music serves to accentuate the stillness and tranquility of the family’s environment. As the second act begins, the piano becomes more complex as the white noise of everyday life is added to the mix, such as the family watching TV and the street becoming full of cars and people. For the third act, our soundtrack is now a swinging jazz trio complete with a soulful and dynamic improvisational female vocalist. Her melody swells and ebbs to the energy of the people on screen, and her charged performance borders on screaming as we see riots beginning to consume the streets. By the time the music fades to its conclusion during the closing title card, you’ll think you’ve just heard the entire soundtrack to the characters’ lives. Truly an exceptional example of functional music that does not compromise style or emotion.