Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:
“Band of Outsiders” is, I think, the tenderest of the great Godard films. It’s also, with the exception of “Breathless,” the one that looms largest in the public consciousness: The scenes showing Karina, Frey, and Brasseur doing the Madison in a Parisian cafe, or running through the Louvre in an attempt to break the visitor speed record (held, of course, by an American), are integral parts of the catalog of images we carry in our heads connected with the French New Wave.
This large poster, the key marketing instrument for the film in France, features art by Georges Kerfeyser. I love the image of Karina’s mischief-laden eyes. The idea seems to be to hint at Karina’s role in influencing her male friends to commit ignoble deeds. The vignette of Frey and Brasseur at the bottom of the poster suggests the violence to which this may lead, though, if you’ve seen the film, you know the gunfight it represents is thoroughly mock in nature.
The smaller French poster features a more modernistic design emphasis. It may do a better job of encapsulating most folks’ sense of the movie’s tone. Even so, I think it’s too grim and lacking in charm. The mock gun battle makes an appearance at the top of the composition.
This British poster rearranges the elements of Kerfeyer’s composition to suit the horizontal format of the traditional English poster. It loses something in the translation.
The poster used in Finland combines the elements of the Kerfeyser composition and the mod quality of the smaller French poster. It has an almost musical jauntiness. Note that Karina has been transformed from an effervescent muse into a disapproving grump.
The German poster reproduces the French design.
In the States, the posters used to advertise European art films often featured rudimentary designs and limited color palettes, and this poster for “Band of Outsiders” is no exception. The masked boys, familiar from the other posters we’ve seen, make an appearance, but the most notable aspect of the composition is that image of Karina dancing. As far as I know, this is the only original-release poster for “Band of Outsiders” to allude to the movie’s most famous scene.
This is an American-made poster featuring the Spanish language. It was used either in Spanish-speaking parts of the U.S. or in parts of Mexico reached by American film distribution. The vignette of the masked boys echoes that featured on the English-language American poster in that one of the pair has been given a gun. But I find it more interesting that each has been provided with his own punctuation mark. Unless you’ve seen the movie, it’s hard to know what those hooded figures represent, even on the Kerfeyser original. Perhaps whoever designed this poster thought it best to hint at the fact that their arrival at the role of criminals was not without a degree of surprise and confusion. Though I can appreciate the attempt at liveliness, I think this poster is something of a mess, and fails to communicate a sense of the movie.
Lastly we have an Argentinian take, which repeats the design of the U.S. Spanish-language poster seen above. It’s even more of a mess than its model.