You know these films, but the movie posters presented here are likely ones that you have never seen plastered on the sides of buildings or framed in cinema houses! They aren’t conventional, but are special and even have their own ‘school’ in the world of art!
In order, the posters shown in the gallery are from the following movies: Gone With the Wind, Metropolis, The Kid, Annie Hall, Battle Royale, Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange, Alien, Apocalypse Now, Fight Club, The Shining, Un Chien Andalou, Jaws 2, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Blue Velvet, My Fair Lady, Sex and the City, Amélie, and Kill Bill.
The Golden Age of the Polish poster
One era I’d like to highlight, in the history of the Polish poster, is the ‘Golden Age’ that took place in the 50s and 60s. What’s fascinating is that artists, of all mediums, were pushed into becoming poster designers because it was the only platform in which the artists were free to express themselves given that there were no guidelines issued by the state to how the posters should appear, owing to the fact the state controlled the Polish film industry. As a result the posters all look like pieces designed for niche markets, for underground, art film screenings, though the title films aren’t small budget shorts at all, but big, big names, as seen in the gallery above! The Polish School of Posters was formed during this time and carries on till this day, though has in fact shifted almost entirely to niche audiences, often only found in art galleries or for sale online.
Themes, or lack there of
The three most striking colors: black, red and white, are commonplace in Polish posters. Why’s this? Because the posters aren’t like the mainstream posters found in Hollywood that show photos of scenes and actors from the movies, but are instead meant to be impressionistic, and are charged with the emotions felt by the artists in relation to the film.
As seen above, some of the emotions are very dark which come across in the illustrations of grotesque figures such as in the poster of the Surrealist short, Un Chien Andalou. Some posters are very recognizable, such as the one of ‘My Fair Lady’, and some play around with signs and the signified, such as the first poster in the series ‘Gone with the Wind’.
The Smashing Magazine article, that takes a comprehensive look at Polish poster design throughout the ages, was an inspiration for our article.