Magnet of Doom (1963) - News Poster

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Movie Poster of the Week: Jean-Pierre Melville in Posters

Above: French poster for Le silence de la mer (Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1949). Design by Raymond Gid.Many great filmmakers never got the posters their films deserved. Some of my favorite filmmakers—I'm thinking Yasujiro Ozu, Jacques Rivette, Mike Leigh, and Jean-Marie Straub, to name just a few—for one reason or another, whether it be the vagaries of distribution, the particulars of time and the place, or just the fact that what is so extraordinary about their filmmaking doesn’t translate to still images, have very few posters worthy of their reputation. Jean-Pierre Melville is not one of those. Undoubtedly, the archetype of Melville’s cinema—the trench-coat and fedora sporting, pistol touting tough guy—lends himself beautifully to graphic invention. But Melville made other kinds of films too, and somehow the posters for his entire 13-film oeuvre are an embarrassment of riches. It didn’t hurt that the great French poster artist,
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Jean-Pierre Melville: The Moral Dimension of Crime

Jean-Pierre Melville in his own film, Two Men in Manhattan“A man isn't tiny or giant enough to defeat anything”—Yukio MishimaA voracious cinephile in his early youth, Jean-Pierre Grumbach's daily intake of films was interrupted by the Second World War when he enlisted in the Ffl (Forces Français Libres) and adopted the nom de guerre by which he's still known to these days: Jean-Pierre Melville. A tribute to his literary hero, Hermann Melville, and his novel Pierre: or the Ambiguities, the director would have his name officially changed after the war. The latter was to shape and inform many of his films and arguably all of his world-view, characterized by a sort of ethical cynicism where anti-fascism is understood as a moral duty rather than an act of heroic courage. Profoundly anti-rhetoric and filled with a terse dignity, his films about the Resistance, Army of Shadows (1969) above all,
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Movie Poster of the Week: The Posters of the First New York Film Festival

  • MUBI
Above: Larry Rivers’ poster for the first New York Film Festival.

With the New York Film Festival celebrating its 50th edition next week I thought I’d look back on the very first festival, 49 years ago, in 1963. Whereas this year’s festival has a main slate of 33 films (as well as abundant sidebars) the inaugural event, programmed by Richard Roud and Amos Vogel, had only 21 features and a selection of shorts. The festival opened—on a Tuesday evening, September 10th, 1963—with a now-classic but then ill-received Buñuel, The Extermining Angel, and closed with a film and a director that have been all but forgotten: Dragées au poivre (Sweet and Sour), a French-Italian comedy with an all-star cast, directed by one Jacques Baratier.

Of the 21 selections—handpicked by Roud and Vogel as the year’s best—only six (masterpieces by Buñuel, Ozu, Olmi, Kobayashi, Polanski and Resnais) are currently available on DVD in the Us,
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