Friday, August 12, 2011

We Need to Talk About the Posters

While I was away at MIFF - and even after it whilst I was recovering and catching up on MIFF blog entries - some wonderful posters popped up online and I'd be remiss in not mentioning them, wouldn't you agree?

Lynn Ramsay's forthcoming Cannes entry We Need to Talk About Kevin recently had a dodgy stripe poster that did nothing to allude to the film's supposed fluid, silky storytelling. This newer design, however, is stunning and appears to encapsulate so much about the film and also push what we think we know of the project into unforeseen directions.

I mean, is We Need to Talk About Kevin at all comparable to Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby? Because the faded green and black colour scheme sure do seem to be inviting the comparison. My favourite part is the imagery of star Tilda Swinton slinking out of the shadows. For whatever reason, it actually reminded me of the poster for Jacques Tourneur's 1943 classic "Jane Eyre" retelling I Walked with a Zombie, which is a whole 'nother surprising direction for my brain to head down.

Next we have a French poster for Roman Polanski's Carnage (formally "God of Carnage", which was the title of the play it is adapted from). On one hand I love it's glorious, if oddball, Warholian colour scheme and its theme of changing facial expressions by the cast. However...

... those colours are quite confronting considering the plot of the film. I'm almost always for the wild use of colour on film posters because I think, far too often, many posters for dramas suspect dark, muted tones better represent their film with little thought of what those dark, muted tones represent to the filmgoer (ie; depressing). This is a lot of colour! Granted, Carnage is apparently even more of a comedy than drama, but these colours even Almodovar would find excessive. I like that they went a bit ballsy and went with something different and I will most certainly prefer this to whatever car wreck of a design they come up for the American design so for now I'm curiously intrigued.

The most concerning part, however, is how Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet appear to be hysteric by their third frame and yet Christoph Waltz and, especially, John C Reilly's faces are almost unchanged. Is that a sign of the movie? That the women will be loud, hysterical banshees (not necessarily a bad thing) and the men will be more stoic and, well, typically macho? Ugh. I hope not.

And speaking of colour palates, how about Weekend. This independent gay feature could perhaps be condoned for its stereotypical use of the colour pink, but from all reports Weekend isn't just another "look how funny gay people are! gay people will go see this movie because they'll see anything that's about gay people! woo!" flick and so I can appreciate the rarely used pinks and purples far more than I otherwise might for a "gay movie".

I think there's a wonderful feel to this poster of foggy, yet promisingly sun-kissed romance. And this is a much better way of utilising the "big empty space" design concept. By allowing the white space to act as imagery for an uncertain, perhaps brighter, future is rather lovely and sending the over-exposed Polaroid concept throughout the entire poster works a treat. This poster is gorgeous.

Very similar is this poster for Sundance hit Like Crazy. Even if I hadn't have known it was a "Sundance hit" I would have suspected it from the poster alone.

It has many of the same virtues as the Weekend poster, although obviously with a much more sellable message. The large typeface of the tagline is in line with current trends, but comes off as somewhat on the nose. Nevertheless, the beautiful colours and a great choice of imagery to sell the film on make this poster a winner. At least the actors were in the same location and not just Photoshopped together!

Lastly, I want to look at some of the many posters for Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive. We have a UK quad and several international designs.

I find it curious that the most interesting and daring design for Drive is, in fact, the first American one. Aping off of the poster for 1980 sex and thrills blend American Gigolo, the American poster with its sexy up-shot of star Ryan Gosling with his trademark (in the film) toothpick, greasy and tight-fitting white top and destinctive, loud and large hyper pink cursive font is quite delicious. Having seen the film I can definitely see how and why it has been marketed this way - it's certainly the best representation of the film of all the poster so far released - although I can also see how this poster could be a, ahem pun, speed bump on its way to financial success.

Still, I think something as striking and forceful in its message as the American poster design works far better than the lazy international posters that trade off of a gritty slickness that really isn't in the film. The film is slick, most definitely, but the darkness that seethes through it is not what makes the movie so powerful and it is, really, much less an integral part of the film than the stylised, yet somewhat deliberately dated, coolness of the initial US design. I obviously see why it's being marketed this way with those steely blues and menacing imagery, but for me it's all about the crisp white and pink.

How about you?


Noecitos said...

I loved the post!!
But I resent that you mentioned Rosemary's Baby without linking to the picture of Jessica Alba...
I could laugh for hours!

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