Monday, 6 February 2012

The Artist

The Artist. directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.

The design is created by Couramiaud / Laurent Lufroy, they have created posters for Jeanne D'Arc, Leon and Les Visiteurs.
I remember the first time I saw this poster, it stopped me in my tracks, not because it was breathtakingly beautiful but because it was so 'clean', it wasn't overloaded with logos, credits or quotes, it simply put the focus on the the two stars and the movies name.
It had been quite a while since I have seen a 'modern' movie poster so reserved, even the palme d'or is discretly placed just above the movie title almost like a brooch pinned to Bernice Bejo's dress! Infact the over all composition reminded me of 'The Loves of Carmen' starring Dolores Del Rio and Victor McLaglen, which coincidentally was released in 1927, the year that The artist is set in.

The airbrushed portraits of Dujardin and Bejo make them look almost like illustrations. Dujardin; a mixture of Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Valentino and Errol, Flynn, while Bejo echos Louise Brooks with a bit of Clara Bow. The only flash of colour is on the 'The' in the title and pulls the viewers attention away from the smouldering stare of the main protagonists to the movies title. The title is centered and set in two typefaces, neither of which come from the 1920's. The 'The' is set in Scriptina while the rest is set in Nite Club. While these fonts evoke a sense of the 1920's they leave me wanting something more authentic, Futura would have been too modern but a nice hand created script, drawing on the rich typographic tapestry of the twenties could have sat nicely with the image.

As for teasers, or support posters there are surprisingly few. I could only find one teaser image which makes me think of Fred and Ginger in 'Top Hat' but that is all. As the movie has garnered awards, the poster design has lost it's original refinement to make space for what the critics say and to shoulder the mountain of gongs it has garnered. Personally I think all this just makes it into another movie and dilutes it's strength.

Make it more punchy, add a drop shadow to the title, and don't forget those lighting effects!

I also would have loved to have a seen a side series, something like LaBocca carried out for Black Swan last year that supported the main movie poster but revived that vivid graphic poster style of the Twenties. They already created some posters for 'Peppy Miller' and 'George Valentine in the movie so why no go and make a few for promos, or even just the press packs, something along the lines of 'It' or even 'The Jazz Singer' would have worked a treat!
Peppy Miller in 'Beauty Spot', as seen in The Artist
All in all I think the poster for The Artist is one of the most reserved and refined I have seen in a long time. It manages to feature all the prerequisites to please the marketing team, (head shots of the main stars, the title of the movie and all the obligatory logos and credits) yet still makes you curious and want to find out more.

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