Film posters designing as an art form was thrust back into the limelight earlier today, when Patty Jenkins shared a poster from her upcoming directorial venture, Wonder Woman 84. A sequel to the 2017’s Wonder Woman, it seems to have an incredible amount of 1980s spunk. It also has a myriad of cheerful colours along with an all golden suit for Gal Gadot.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) June 5, 2019
Poster designing has been hailed as an exclusive art form, since Fritz Lang’s Metropolis painted that iconic skyline of the future in its poster. Or for that matter, the unforgiving-yet-stunning poster for Francis Ford Coppolla’s Apocalypse Now, where choppers double up as birds. Even the poster for Mehboob Khan’s Mother India featuring Nargis Dutt epitomising India’s early agrarian economy, remains imprinted in our minds.
Here’s a look at some of the most meticulously designed film posters of the past two decades :
1. Thor: Ragnarok
Strangely enough, one of the first poster that comes to mind after seeing the new Wonder Woman 84 poster is that of director Taika Waititi’s hilarious debut for Marvel. Dealing with rebirth (briefly) the film hints at it by modelling it on a biblical painting.
2. Love, Sex Aur Dhokha
Dibakar Banerjee’s voyeuristic thriller smartly involves all three elements of its title, as it shows a pair of lovers’ feet implying sex, making a heart out of it and drawing many eyes behind it. The dingy, red-tinted aesthetic also implying the shady lodges, where such videos are usually found to be shot.
3. Bhavesh Joshi Superhero
Splendid design, that borrows from the Western comic books as much as it does from the gritty 1980s (the blood et al) popular culture. The poster for Bhavesh Joshi Superhero looks half Marvel and half Kill Bill, making it stand out for sure.
4. The Dark Knight Rises
The foundations of skyscrapers seem wobbly, the city looks like it’s on the verge of collapse… and the meaning of poster makes all the more sense in retrospect. And still, with that iconic bat signal in the middle, this poster for The Dark Knight Rises is surely the finest one in the trilogy.
For a film dealing about alter-egos for some reckless teenagers, the poster design is probably too on the nose. But it’s also impossible to ignore how trippy it looks.
Lijo Jose Pellisery’s 2018 film has arguably the most intricately made poster for an Indian film in the last two years. Giving the impression that it’s made completely with muck, the poster manages to depict the raw energy and the earthiness of this ‘sport’.
7. OJ: Made In America
ESPN’s 7 and a half hour long magnum opus documentary about one of America’s most publicised cases, delves into the socio-political history of the country that helped create a human being like O.J Simpson. And how beautifully that’s depicted in the poster, with that bleeding red from the American flag on a glove (a BIG piece of evidence in the case).
8. Lord of War
Andrew Niccol’s cult favourite, along with having one of the most interesting opening credits, also had one of the most intriguing posters. A portrait of the face of Nicholas Cage (the arms dealer protagonist) made only with rifle cartridges.
Sex, drugs, alcohol and rock n roll – the poster for Anurag Kashyap’s Dev.D couldn’t be more explicit even if it wanted to. Baring it all in the poster, it sort of mirrors the film’s tendency to verbalise most of the taboos around Hindi ‘mainstream’ films.
Sriram Raghavan’s wicked caper has a wicked smart poster too. It shows our protagonist (Ayushmann Khurrana) trying to cross a zebra crossing, which is actually a stain of blood. It’s apparent that a corpse has been dragged recently, there’s a piano and a cat. After the film, it all begins to make sense.