Movie Poster of the Week: The Czech Posters of Jan Cihla

The striking art of a lesser-known Czech designer.
Adrian Curry
Above: 1964 Czech poster for Darkness in Daytime (Zoltán Fábri, Hungary, 1964).
In the world of Czech movie posters there is an abundance of riches. The website (and Prague-based brick and mortar store) Terry Posters, tireless keepers of the flame of Czech poster design, offers a seemingly endless source of graphic delight. Scrolling through its pages, posters will jump out at me not for their title (a large portion of Czech posters having been made for Eastern Bloc films that are still unknown here) or the name of the designer, but simply because of their wholly unusual and striking design.
One such recent discovery was this startling collage above, reminiscent of Eyes without a Face: a supremely simple but haunting design that wipes the floor with most contemporary horror movie posters. The necklace-like title treatment is a nice touch too.
Checking the name of the designer, Jan Cihla, I realized he had authored a number of other posters that have caught my eye over the years, especially the Czech poster for Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri. While not a major designer like Karel Vaca or Zdenek Ziegler and with far fewer posters to his name, Cihla nonetheless stands out for his inventive use of collage, his bold use of type and his occasional whimsical use of illustration. I managed to find a 2015 article on him on the website for the Czech newspaper Deník. Though the article is in Czech, I gleaned that Cihla was born in 1929, is still with us at the age of 86 and is primarily known as a painter. He designed posters for just a few years between 1962 and 1965. Below are all the works by Cihla that I could find.
Above: Jan Cihla. Photo courtesy of Deník/ Jaroslav Sýbek.
Above: 1964 Czech poster for Harakiri (Masaki Kobayashi, Japan, 1962).
Above: 1965 Czech poster for One Potato, Two Potato (Larry Peerce, USA, 1964).
Above: 1965 Czech poster for Carry on Admiral aka The Ship was Loaded (Val Guest, UK, 1957).
Above: 1962 Czech poster for Husband of his Wife (Stanislaw Bareja, Poland, 1961).
Above: 1963 Czech poster for I Bought a Father (Ilya Frez, USSR, 1963).
Above: 1963 Czech poster for The Proud Challenge (Kinji Fukasaku, Japan, 1962).
Above: 1964 Czech poster for The Good Life (Robert Enrico, France, 1963).
Above: 1964 Czech poster for The Intransigents (Yanko Yankov, Bulgaria, 1964).
Many thanks to Terry Posters.


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