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‘The Art of Self-Defense’ Trailer: Jesse Eisenberg Learns Karate in SXSW Film

Alessandro Nivola and Imogen Poots co-star in Riley Stearns' latest.

The Art of Self-Defense Jesse Eisenberg

“The Art of Self-Defense”

Ahead of its South by Southwest premiere, “The Art of Self-Defense” has a trailer. Riley Stearns’ follow-up to “Faults” stars Jesse Eisenberg as a timid man who joins a karate dojo after being assaulted, with Alessandro Nivola (“Disobedience”) as his enigmatic sensei.

“I’m afraid,” Eisenberg tells Nivola after being asked why he’s pursuing karate. “I’m afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of other men. They intimidate me. I want to be what intimidates me.” He’s then told that the answer is multiple choice as the tone quickly shifts from tension to dark comedy and he eventually chooses “A) health and fitness.”

Here’s the full synopsis: “A dark comedy set in the world of karate. The film centers on Casey (Jesse Eisenberg), who is attacked at random on the street and enlists in a local dojo led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), in an effort to learn how to defend himself. What he uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hypermasculinity and a woman (Imogen Poots) fighting for her place in it. Casey undertakes a journey, both frightening and darkly funny, that will place him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor.”

Imogen Poots co-stars in the film, which has its world premiere at SXSW tomorrow. Bleecker Street will release “The Art of Self-Defense” later this year.

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