Movie Poster of the Week: The Posters of the 10th New York Film Festival

As the 2022 NYFF kicks off, a look back half a century to the films and posters for the 1972 edition.
Adrian Curry

Above: French grande for Love in the Afternoon (aka Chloé in the Afternoon) (Éric Rohmer, France, 1972) which was the opening night film of the 10th New York Film Festival. Designer tbd.

In the catalogue for the 10th New York Film Festival in 1972, festival director Richard Roud looked back on the first decade of the NYFF, musing on the changes in cinema of the previous 10 years: “a greater freedom of subject matter,” “an accompanying new freedom of form,” the obsolescence of “the tightly plotted film,” the rise of personal filmmaking and the inroads of political cinema and documentary techniques into narrative film. He also muses on international movements: the snuffing out of the Czech Renaissance (there were no Czech films in the 1972 festival), the rise of New Hollywood and American independent cinema, and the ebbing of the movement that had in many ways defined the festival to that point, the French New Wave:

Some of the directors who were brought to our attention by the movement have ceased to make interesting films; some were mere flashes-in-the-pan. But others have continued, year in, year out, to produce interesting films—Truffaut and Chabrol have had their ups and downs, but they have stayed the course. The evolution of Godard has been more controversial, but he remains an important force in world cinema.

And so he did for the next 50 years. Just four years ago, looking back on the 1968 NYFF, I wrote that Godard was the only filmmaker from the ’68 festival to have a new film 50 years later in the 2018 edition. That was The Image Book, which was to be his final feature film. With his death just 17 days ago, the New York Film Festival’s class of ’72 has lost its second member this year, after Bob Rafelson (The King of Marvin Gardens) just a few months ago.

This summer also saw the passing of another of the most vital people in the New York Film Festival’s history: Joanne Koch, who, in 1972, was in just her second year as the Administrative Director of the Film Festival. Born a year before Godard, Koch became the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s executive director just five years later, a job she held for more than a quarter of a century. One of the major controversies she presided over in that time was the firestorm over the NYFF’s 1985 premiere of Godard’s Hail Mary at which, as her New York Times obituary noted, “more than 5,000 protesters, some toting candles, turned out at the screening” and “the rector of a seminary in Connecticut warned, ‘When the bombs fall on Manhattan, one will especially fall on the cinema where this film is being shown.’”

If there were to be a 50th anniversary reunion of the New York Film Festival’s Class of ’72 at Tavern on the Green tonight it would be a sparsely attended, yet illustrious affair. Philippe Garrel would still be the group’s enfant terrible at 74, as he was as a 24-year-old attending with The Inner Scar, and he would be joined, health permitting, by the 79 year-old Jean-Pierre Gorin (co-director with Godard on Tout va bien and the short film Letter to Jane), the 83-year-old Krzysztof Zanussi (Behind the Wall), the 84-year-old Paul Morrissey (Heat), the 86-year-old Ken Loach (Wednesday’s Child), and the 94-year-old Marcel Ophüls (A Sense of Loss). And Robert Benton (Bad Company) would have double cause to celebrate, having turned 90 just yesterday. Happy Birthday Bob!

One of the pleasures of doing this exercise every year is discovering films that have been completely lost to time: films by filmmakers who were never heard from again and whose films are now impossible to find, whose poster and their entry in the NYFF catalogue are almost all we have to go on. That was not the case with the 1972 festival, which was chock-full of films by the giants of international art cinema: along with Godard there were films by Robert Altman, Bernardo Bertolucci, Luis Buñuel, Marguerite Duras, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Miklos Jancso, Joseph Losey, Jonas Mekas, Maurice Pialat, Satyajit Ray, Hiroshi Teshigahara, and three more representatives of the Nouvelle Vague—Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, and François Truffaut (but no Chabrol). The festival was dominated by French films (nine) and American films (six), with two each from Hungary and Italy, and just one from the UK, Germany, and Poland. And there were only two non American or European films: Teshigahara’s Summer Soldiers from Japan and Ray’s The Adversary from India.

I’ve gathered up posters for 21 of the 24 features shown in the main slate of the 10th New York Film Festival. I couldn't find anything of note for Ophüls’s A Sense of Loss, nor do any seem to exist for Zanussi’s Behind the Wall or Adolfas Mekas’ Going Home, both of which were only an hour long.

Above: Indian poster for The Adversary (Satyajit Ray, India, 1970). Design by Satyajit Ray.

Above: French poster for L’amour fou (Jacques Rivette, France, 1969).

Above: US one sheet for The Assassination of Trotsky (Joseph Losey, Italy/France, 1972).

Above: US one sheet for Bad Company (Robert Benton, USA, 1972).

Above: French grande for The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, France, 1972). Design by René Ferracci.

Above: UK poster for Family Life (Ken Loach, UK, 1971) which was billed as Wednesday’s Child in the NYFF program, perhaps because the festival had shown Zanussi’s Family Life just the year before.

Above: US one sheet for Heat (Paul Morrissey, USA, 1972).

Above: US one sheet for Images (Robert Altman, Ireland, 1972).

Above: French poster for The Inner Scar (Philippe Garrel, France, 1972).

Above: UK quad poster for The King of Marvin Gardens (Bob Rafelson, USA, 1972). Design by Peter Strausfeld.

Above: Hungarian poster for Love (Károly Makk, Hungary, 1971). Design by László Lakner.

Above: German poster for The Merchant of Four Seasons (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany, 1972).

Above: French poster for Nathalie Granger (Marguerite Duras, France, 1972).

Above: Hungarian poster for Red Psalm (Miklós Jancsó, Hungary, 1972). Design by László Lakner and György Gadányi.

Above: Japanese poster for Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (Jonas Mekas, USA, 1972). Design by Kiyoshi Awazu.

Above: Japanese poster for Summer Soldiers (Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japan, 1972).

Above: UK poster for Tout va bien (Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin, France, 1972).

Above: Italian due fogli poster for Two English Girls (François Truffaut, France, 1971). Art by Rodolfo Gasparri.

Above: French poster for We Won't Grow Old Together (Maurice Pialat, France/Italy, 1972).

Above: US one sheet for Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy/France, 1972) which was the closing night film of the 10th New York Film Festival.

At these links, you can see my previous New York Film Festival flashbacks to 1963196519681969, 1971, and 1988.

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