Movie Posters of the French New Wave

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:

As you might expect, the advent of the French New Wave in the late ’50s helped to usher in a revolution in French movie poster design, a tradition with roots going back to Jules Cheret. Offset printing replaced stone lithography as the main mode of reproduction, and photographic images began to take precedence over traditional hand-rendered designs. The designer most emblelmatic of the period was probably Rene Ferracci, who often employed photographic collages to evoke the modernist bent of the films he was attempting to represent. His designs for Godard’s “2 or 3 Things I Know About Her,” “La Chinoise,” and “Made in USA” seem pulled right out of the popular consciousness.

But vestiges of the old way of doing things remained. The legendary Boris Grinsson delivered an oddly staid, but still quite appealing, image to promote “The 400 Blows”; it captures Leaud just as he’s freezing into an icon (the movie ended with a freeze-frame, after all). And Jean Mascii’s treatments for “Alphaville” and “Lola” are unforgettable even though they largely miss the point.

Georges Allard’s Bardot portrait for “Contempt” misses the point too, but it’s so transcendent that it scarcely matters; it’s the iconic image of ’60s French cinema.

I know it’s possible to dispute the New Wave-ness of some of these movies, but let’s agree not to nitpick.


About Fabrizio del Wrongo

Recovering liberal arts major. Unrepentant movie nut. Aspiring boozehound.
This entry was posted in Commercial art, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Movie Posters of the French New Wave

  1. Callowman says:

    Are these all yours? Do they come folded? Is keeping them that way the norm in the collector world?


  2. Great collection. Funny how forward-looking some of the posters are and how backwards-looking others are. The “400 Blows” and “Lola” posters might have been made in 1935, or almost. Really drives home, at least for me, how bewildering a lot of older and more traditional people must have felt when the New Wave came along. What on earth was going on? And what *were* these new entertainment values that were being sold?


  3. If I’d have gone to see “Les Carabiniers” because I’d been intrigued by the poster, the movie would have come as a complete surprise.


    • Fabrizio del Wrongo says:

      I wonder what the filmmakers thought of some of these. For instance, what must Chabrol have thought of that “Les Bonnes Femmes” poster?

      I’ll have to do a follow-up of non-French posts for French New Wave films. The Italians’ in particular seem to have been confused by it.


  4. “La Salamandre” and “The Middle of the World” were very big in arthouse circles back in the ’70s. Then there was one about a stripper, written by the actress who played the stripper … That was in the ’80s, I’m pretty sure. I dragged Pauline to see that one, and not only did she not enjoy it, she came down with a flu afterwards.


  5. Pingback: French New Wave Movie Posters

  6. Pingback: Movie Posters of the French New Wave (Italian Edition) | Uncouth Reflections

  7. Pingback: Movie Posters of the French New Wave (Other Countries Edition) | Uncouth Reflections

  8. Pingback: Movie Poster Du Jour: “My Life to Live” | Uncouth Reflections

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