This year’s selection of the best movie posters of the year once again demonstrates a wonderful array of traditional techniques and styles – photography, painting, collage – and a refusal to homogenise into any singular form.
One pleasing commonality: as yet, the world of film poster design has resisted any incursion from AI-generated art. Whether their creation was through physical or digital means, by one hand or many, each of them is a product of human creativity.
Everything Everywhere All at Once; Design: AV Print
One noticeable trend this year, and your new favourite word: kaleidoscopism. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and Three Thousand Years of Longing all gave it a spin, but James Jean’s Everything Everywhere All at Once design for AV Print is perhaps the best of them; tossing the film’s ingredients onto a visual bagel made of sausage fingers, googly eyes, and butt plugs.
Pinocchio; Design: James Jean
Guillermo del Toro also called upon the talents of Jean for his new take on Pinocchio (as he did for The Shape of Water in 2017). Whereas Disney’s recent live-action remake leant heavily on the familiar iconography of the 1940 film, the marketing for this stop-motion adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s book has focused heavily on the craft of its production – culminating in a MoMA exhibition, for which Jean created a special 3D-printed edition of this artwork.
On the Line: The Richard Williams Story; Design: Akiko Stehrenberger
Confidently striding out of a sea of white, two rackets in hand, Akiko Stehrenberger’s striking portrait of Richard Williams for the documentary On the Line: The Richard Williams Story sets this apart from any other films on the subject that may or may not have been overshadowed by toxic celebrity slappings.
The Stranger; Design: Intermission Film
A simple concept, excellently executed; the seamless blending of stars Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris makes you look twice at what initially appears to be a straightforward portrait. One of those posters that makes you want to see the film – and the Photoshop layers.
The Tsugua Diaries; Design: Midnight Marauder
Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes’ reverse-chronological film within a film within a global pandemic may not be the easiest sell, but Midnight Marauder’s sublimely spiky poster has the clarity/curiosity balance just right.
Tramps!; Design: Derek Gabryszak
Curious characters boldly emerging from the rooftops of an anonymous stark urban landscape beneath a pretty vacant void, all adorned with a flamboyant flourish – Derek Gabryszak’s poster succinctly captures Kevin Hegge’s New Romantic documentary in a microcosmic oblong.
Tár; Design: AV Print
If you’ve got Cate Blanchett, you show her face in the poster, right? Not necessarily. For Todd Field’s film about composer-conductor Lydia Tár, rather than a simple headshot, AV Print created a simple geometric composition – a bold diagonal swipe across the page – with big type and an unorthodox low camera angle bursting with the magnificence of Blanchett’s performance (and jawline).
White Noise; Design: P+A
Posters generally need to be direct to get their message across before you walk or scroll past them, but sometimes you get something that demands a bit more attention. Among other posters for Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, there’s this gem from P+A, illustrated by Marija Tiurina. It’s basically Don Delillo via Where’s Wally and – ooh I found Don Cheadle!
Decision to Leave; Design: Empire Design
There is an unsettling calmness in this art for Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave. Perhaps drawing upon similar themes (death, obsession, men plummeting), the figures-in-a-landscape-in-a-circle design evokes Vic Fair’s iconic The Man Who Fell to Earth poster, with Tang Wei’s ominous sideways stare more than a match for Bowie.
Earwig; Design: Laurent Lufroy
“Albert is employed to look after Mia, a girl with teeth of ice. Mia never leaves their apartment, where the shutters are always closed. The telephone rings regularly and the Master enquires after Mia’s wellbeing. Until the day Albert is instructed that he must prepare the child to leave.” Memories of lockdown cast a shadow over Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s adaptation of Brian Catling’s novel Earwig, and Laurent Lufroy’s poster emits a palpable, all-too-familiar sense of agoraphobic dread.