Saturday, 25 February 2012

Midnight in Paris

Synopsis: Gil and Inez travel to Paris as a tag-along vacation on her parents' business trip. Gil is a successful Hollywood writer but is struggling on his first novel. He falls in love with the city and thinks they should move there after they get married, but Inez does not share his romantic notions of the city or the idea that the 1920s was the golden age. When Inez goes off dancing with her friends, Gil takes a walk at midnight and discovers what could be the ultimate source of inspiration for writing. Gil's daily walks at midnight in Paris could take him closer to the heart of the city but further from the woman he's about to marry.

Design: Cardinal Communications USA
Well where do you start, lets look at the elements;
1. A shot of the banks of the river Seine
2. The main actor in the film, Owen Wilson
3. The font Windsor EF-Elongated

4. Vincent Van Gough's painting The Starry Night 
Let me start this post by saying I love Woody Allen, the man is a movie genius and I loved this movie, however when I saw this poster it actually had the effect of stopping me going to the cinema, it was only after friends had been and said that it was really good that I plucked up the courage and hired it! 
1.Let's start with the riverside shot; the film is set in Paris and there are a good handful of scenes that revolve around the river. Tick OK, next!
2.The star Owen Wilson; he too is indeed in the movie and is the principle actor and is quite the box office draw, so tick, next!
3. The typeface, Windsor EF elongated. Allen has consistently used this since 1977 in Annie Hall, the only exception being 1978's movie Interiors which uses News Gothic. So to many fans the typeface identifies a Woody Allen picture from a mile of, for a great piece check out this blog which details the use of Windsor EF longated in Allen's movies. Tick OK, next!
4. Vincent Van Gough's The Starry Night; Vincent Van Gough was born in 1853 and died in 1890, he was Belgian Dutch and although he did spend time in Paris little is know about that, other than his exposure to Japanese wood block prints, so why was one of his most famous paintings placed in the background of this poster, especially when the main protagonist travels back to the Paris of the 1930s when Van Gogh was already 40 years dead! The movie features a wealth of artistic Talent, from Picasso to Dali so while fall into another wormhole and use Van Gogh? It doesn't make sense. Also the MS Paint effects blending the photograph make it even less attractive. 

I can understand what the objective (midnight = stars) was but to me it just shows a lack of research and doesn't chime with the movies content, if they wanted to use a painter from that epoch why not use one like Monet who lived in and painted Paris, maybe Monet's estate refused permission.
Ok enough art history back to the poster, the layout places the focus on the imagery and makes Paris the main star with Owen Wilson in a supporting role, it creates a magical feel of the city and I'm sure this summer will see a boost in tourism as a result. The text is low on the page and doesn't scream but this is a Woody Allen movie and he doesn't have to scream. As for the variants, they all seem pretty uniform except for a few regional variations where things were tripped back and made more to look like a love story. 


  1. van Gogh was Dutch, not Belgian.

  2. Belgian why did I write Belgian!? Thanks Anon.