Tuesday, November 6, 2007

100 Greatest Movie Posters: #92 - Holy Smoke!

Holy Smoke! (1999)
Directed by Jane Campion
Unknown Designer
Film Nationality - Australia
Poster Nationality - USA

[click to enlarge]

A poster design that I am actually glad hasn't been replicated. I think this works for Jane Campion's film, but would be silly and foolish if applied to 99% of other movies. That film's radical absurdity is what makes this poster great, asking cinemagoers "Has writer-director Jane Camption gone too far?" whilst proudly proclaiming it as a "sex shack shocker" and just daring someone looking at this in a cinema foyer to go buy a ticket.

It's also an ingenius way of giving off exposition in a way that doesn't appear clunky and obvious. "Sex captive in desert hideaway... who really seduced who?"

The poster also does something I am surprised more posters don't do. By stating "(a) scandalous new film..." it makes me want to see the film even more (well, I have already seen it, but you get the idea). It creates an aura around the film and the director and I think it's something that is missing from all forms of film marketing these days. Merely stating "From Academy Award Winner/Nominee..." doesn't attract audiences anymore. Just take a look at the recent box office for films like Rendition, We Own The Night and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.


Anonymous said...

The U.S. doesn't use the term "cinema", so it's actually most likely a U.K. poster. :)

Kamikaze Camel said...

Thanks. The site I was using said it was American. IMDb says that the only country where Holy Smoke! had a release date of Feb 17 was Singapore, and I don't think it was a Singapore poster. The US had a Feb 22 release date apparently whereas the UK was March 31. Oh well. Doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Why doesn't America use "cinema"?

Anonymous said...

I dunno. We use either "theater" or "theatre", the latter of which I prefer. American posters also NEVER put the date before the month. And I also have no idea what that "SB" symbol is at the bottom is.

But yeah, I agree, it is a great poster. The only bad point imo is that they repeated the title like that. It would've been perfect if they left it to the headline only. [shrugs]

Kamikaze Camel said...

People are typically morons though so they'd be all "what's the title?"

It's like the poster for United 93 where the title was tiny and they had a massive quote reading "UNMISSABLE" and people actually thought it was called Unmissable. Teehee.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Holy Smoke. I've seen it like six times since it came out and I still don't know whether I like it or not.

It's a really so-so movie, but it's so watchable.

Leon said...

It could very well be a Singapore poster.

The SB logo is the Shaw Brothers' logo. The Hong Kong indigenous company is currently a film distributor and exhibitor here.

Here are some links for information: