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Posterized August 2019: ‘The Nightingale,’ ‘La Flor,’ ‘Genesis,’ and More

Written by on August 2, 2019 


You wouldn’t think “framing” at first glance with P+A’s The Nightingale (limited August 2), but that’s what the wings of the bird are doing to Aisling Franciosi’s eye. The animal is flying by at speed and she is unfazed, gazing into our soul with malice. And if you look closer you’ll see that these birds might just be orbiting around her—minions of mood ensuring everyone who hears them knows what’s coming.

It’s a very different use of bird and face than P+A’s own Thelma from a couple years back. This one is covering her identity, letting what’s bubbling under the surface to remain dormant until she’s ready to unleash it. The Nightingale has moved beyond that point already. Her power has been set free and nothing will stop her.

The Refinery goes more traditional with their frame within Killerman (limited August 30) by quite literally drawing one around Liam Hemsworth. The poster itself is anything but traditional, however, as that line pushes in from the sides to shore up our focus towards the middle and onto his face and gun pointing off-screen, our eyes moving down the diagonal to the title.

How does the reflection manifest, though? What is real and what is false? The tagline “Nothing is as it seems” corroborates this confusion as the page seems ready to pull itself down to reveal a totally different scene or perhaps one more copy wherein Hemsworth is ultimately pointing his weapon at himself. Add a sleek font (love the ninety-degree curve of the “K” and “R”) and you get a gritty yet attractive photo to offset its glossy brethren on the wall.

Love, Antosha (limited August 2) is very similar in its curved corner line boxing its content at center. Here it’s more utilitarian than artistic, its presence a means to contain what might have floated away. Remove it and the heart loses its purpose in the moment to simply sit in stasis despite nothing preventing it from moving on. For ninety-two minutes, though, it is ours to experience—the film trapping the essence of its love until the lights come back up.

And finally there’s Jawline (limited August 23) arriving with its removal of lines to let a photograph of Austyn Tester speak for itself, the title cutting along its edge to marry outside and inside with a meticulously planned bisection at the offset center of the “e” and “a.” He’s both contained and free, the window opening to his world in order for his head to pop out and say hello. He’s engaging us personally whereas Jump Cut’s variation has us coming to him.

It’s a fascinating case study of how identical aspects can be reworked and reused with different meaning. The font and positioning of the title is the same as well as Austyn’s palette of soft pinks. One has him entering our space and the other us entering his—a duality that works in conjunction with his being a social media celebrity and thus existing at the borderline between. To me the frame becomes the defining piece that sets the first apart from the second because it creates a boundary we’ve both willingly eclipsed. We see him and he sees us.

Typography > photography

Are the words This is Not Berlin (limited August 23) hard to read? Sure. But that’s kind of the appeal. Their pink barely lifts off the dilapidated wall behind them and yet we must decipher what’s being said because we know it’s important. That the designer weirdly separates the “A film by” and director’s name by this title only makes it more subversive—an interjection screamed as loudly as possible, a detail that cannot even be overshadowed by its creator’s name. And the dots above the capital “Is” prove a delightful flourish.

The second poster has more bite with a face and splatter of paint/blood, but the effect isn’t nearly as potent. Separating the director credit makes no sense when the title lacks spontaneity and the way the words cover Xabiani Ponce de León is awkward. I find myself looking at the gaps between words rather than reading them—much like The Kitchen above. It confirms how less is almost always more.

And you can’t go “less” than Cold Case Hammarskjöld (limited August 16) and its redacted sheet of thick black lines isolating the title. This thing is bold and to the point: a stark contrast to everything else hanging at the theater as it literally sells its mystery by highlighting its exclusionary motives.

Compare it to the poster for Brian De Palma’s Redacted and it’s easy to laugh. This thing is a cartoonish play on the same concept that ignores the oppressive nature of what’s being depicted and tries giving it “personality” while also slapping a kitchen sink’s worth of superfluity on for good measure. That won’t fly in 2019. Redactions hold infinitely more weight than that and Mads Brügger isn’t playing around.

Neither is this sheet for Genesis (limited August 23). It puts its name front and center, breaking its six letters into couplets so the three “Es” all align perfectly. Then it decides to jut the “G” out as our starting point, subtly imploring us to catch its minor protrusion and continue from there.

It’s almost as though that one inconsistency then lets the designer do whatever he/she wants. The credit box bottom left is pushed to the edge so it can counteract the statue on Noée Abita’s breast as her body bleeds off the page at right. That she and Théodore Pellerin are added in via photography is itself an oddity too as they’re cutout in ways that augment the slopes and angles of the letters, the multiply effect letting them flatly merge with the background color and never distract from white title supplying the depth they cannot.

Scott Meola takes that effect further with La Flor (limited August 2) by complementing its inherent minimalism with a sumptuous illustration that doesn’t compromise legibility. These plants interact with the sans serif font as much as they can while still maintaining the integrity of each white field—my favorite bit being the leaf that covers the space between the “R’s” two legs with the exact angle necessary to draw its negative space through physical form.

A comparison to Empire Design’s Handmaiden is unavoidable and yet its increased scale makes it a beast all its own. The title there is the afterthought making its presence known within the landscape. La Flor is conversely the main focus invaded by overgrowth. The film being fourteen hours long is perfectly attuned with this distinction as life literally evolves from blackness to full garden. Time provides a gestation period for the art’s overarching message.

What is your favorite August release poster? What could have used a rework?

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