Above: French poster for Chronicle of a Summer (Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin, France, 1961). Design by Raymond Gid.
There is an essential and vital film series opening today at Film Forum
in New York: a survey of 1960s Cinema Verité productions which brings vividly to life a decade of instability and protest as well as a new era of introspection.
While this survey of posters doesn’t give a complete look at the series—“more than 50 modern classics which not only changed the recording of social history, but revolutionized filmmaking itself”—since many of the films are not feature-length (some of the shows pair an hour long film with a 30 minute short) and thus were not theatrically released. But those that I’ve gathered do convey the urgency of the movement as well as its seat-of-the-pants guerrilla style of film marketing as much as film making.
I’ve not included the fiction films in the series—Faces, Medium Cool, Cléo from 5 to 7—whose style was directly influenced by Cinema Verité, as those films and their posters are fairly well known. But the documentary posters, even those for the better known titles such as Don’t Look Back, Gimme Shelter, Titicut Follies, have a bare-bones starkness (often in black and white) and a directness that mirrors their sense of urgency. They were also mostly distributed by smaller distribution companies with limited means. I’ve included a few international posters (the series includes a sidebar of the films of the great French documentarian Jean Rouch) and, at the end, a few more recent re-release posters for those films which have since become modern classics.
Above: US one sheet for Don’t Look Back (D.A. Pennebaker, USA, 1967).
Above: US one sheet for Gimme Shelter (David Maysles, Albert Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin, USA, 1970).
Above: US one sheet for Monterey Pop (D.A. Pennebaker, USA, 1968). Illustration by Tomi Ungerer.
Above: US one sheet for Muhammad Ali: The Greatest (William Klein, USA, 1964/74).
Above: UK one sheet for The Queen (Frank Simon, USA, 1968).
Above: US poster for Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman, USA, 1967).
Above: US poster for Winter Soldier (Winterfilm Collective, USA, 1972). Art by Geoffrey Leven.
Above: French poster for Moi, un noir (Jean Rouch, France, 1958).
Above: Czech poster for Le joli mai (Chris Marker & Pierre Lhomme, France, 1963).
Above: French poster for David Holzman’s Diary (Jim McBride, USA, 1967).
Above: 2013 US re-release poster for Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke, USA, 1967). Designer: Adrian Rothschild.
Above: US re-release poster for Come Back Africa (Lionel Rogosin, USA, 1959). Design: Scott Meola.
Above: French re-release poster for The Lion Hunters (Jean Rouch, France, 1967).
Above: US poster for Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (William Greaves, USA, 1968).
Above: 2014 US re-release poster for Le joli mai (Chris Marker & Pierre Lhomme, France, 1963).
Posters courtesy of Heritage Auctions and Posteritati. 60s Verité
runs through February 6.