With the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival taking place this weekend, many movies are getting their world premiere, months before a wide release to the public. As per the One such movie is the dark comedy, The Art Of Self Defense, starring Jesse Eisenberg. The film’s production company, Bleeker Street, recently released a trailer for the film on their official YouTube channel, ahead of its SXSW world premiere. The film looks intriguing, with its coy background music and a trademark performance by Eisenberg.
The Art Of Self Defense teaser begins with a young man (Eisenberg) wanting to enroll in self-defense classes at a karate dojo. After being mocked for his feminine-sounding name by the dojo’s instructor, played by Alessandro Nivola, Eisenberg’s character is asked to explain his motivation to learn karate. He begins to reveal that he wants to learn self-defense so as not to be intimidated or scared by others — a pretty conventional reason for wanting to learn to protect yourself. However, as the character continues to spiral into a frantically intense explanation, the teaser showcases a montage of images that escalate rather quickly. Flashes of extreme violence and a gun are intercut between many other out of context scenes. Eisenberg’s character is interrupted, as the instructor just wants him to pick a reason from the form.
While this first reveal serves as a teaser for The Art Of Self Defence, it does its job in raising the interest level for this film, leaving audiences wanting to know more about the film and its story. The subject film’s subject matter seems to delve into the idea of personal safety going beyond the environment, but being a feeling that can affect other avenues of someone’s personality and life. The way in which something so intense and visceral is being depicted with a humorous and comedic approach is also unique and further engages audiences into wanting more. Eisenberg has done many performances where he plays an awkward character with incredibly low self-confidence, so many that Tribeca Film even ranked them, but this film seems to use that to its advantage in a performance where the character no longer wants to ascribe his life to those personality traits and is actively trying to change them.
The Art Of Self Defense is written and directed by Riley Stearns and stars Imogen Poots in a supporting role. As per the SXSW Film Festival website, the film will be making its world premiere at the SXSW film festival on March 10. However, no wide release date has yet been revealed.