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Movie Poster of the Week: "For Colored Girls"

A look at the posters for Tyler Perry’s 2010 film.

Tyler Perry may not be the kind of auteur that MUBI usually celebrates, but an auteur he most certainly is: a hugely popular, multi-hyphenate, name-above-the-title titan who, with Fassbinder-like prolificacy, has released nine films that he has written, directed and produced (starring in seven of them) in the space of less than five years. (Unlike Fassbinder his financial success far outweighs his critical success: his films to date have grossed over $500 million.)

There seem to be three kind of Tyler Perry movie posters: there are the generic ensemble cast posters which you barely look at twice; there are the Madea posters which feature Perry as his indomitable gun-toting grandmother alter-ego in parodies of Warhol or the Straw Dogs poster; and then there are the teaser posters, which are something else.

For Colored Girls, Perry’s upcoming film adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 “choreopoem” For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, boasts a total of ten official posters (all of which can be seen on the film’s official website). Eight of them are character posters which feature beautiful actresses trapped in ugly layers of graphics, and then there is this film’s equivalent of an ensemble poster which has the eight actresses color-coded in a more-pleasing Mondrianesque layout. But what seems to be the film’s official poster reverses the trend of most Perry releases.

I have no idea who is responsible for the superb teaser posters that announce Perry’s films before the more conventional marketing kicks in, but they follow such a similar train of thought (flowers, faces, silhouettes) that I’d like to think that Perry himself is behind them, rather than just the marketing team at Lionsgate. Simple, bold, inventive and memorable, they stop you in your tracks, but they are also now recognizably Perry-ian. Which is why I’m happy that a similarly fresh and arresting design is being used as the official poster for Colored Girls.

One other notable feature about this poster is that, for the first time, Perry’s name, no doubt in deference to Shange, is not above the title with its usual Felliniesque possessiveness.

Below are the good, the Mad, and and the poorly Photoshopped...

An astute observation about Perry and in particular your note regarding Fassbinder. I for one am excited to see Perry working with this material and while I’m not the biggest fan of his personal romps as the wickedly peculiar Madea, I think he is one of the most underrated filmmakers working today. He doesn’t receive anywhere near the attention he should, due in no short part to his often light hearted, comical films that garner a fare share of controversy. He is often dismissed but his films have all been successful across a broad spectrum, from silly to family dramas and for any filmmaker that says a lot.
I don’t have much faith that this will be something I will enjoy, but I have to admit that when I saw this image a couple of weeks back, I was stilled for a moment. The use of water colors in splotches indicates, potentially, tears even without the extended drippings (I am unsure whether I like or dislike the actual tears—I like the way they draw the eye down to the title, completing the image, but they also seem a bit out of place and superfluous). The face itself is interesting to me also because it reminds me of a Carnival mask—the tears do sort of enhance this effect. Overall, it’s clever and pretty.
kudos to mubi for recognizing perry and the film with this post. while his work may not be my cup of tea, he’s worthy of recognition for the sheer volume of films he’s making, their massive popularity within the general african-american community, and the subject matter he tackles (however lightly). i can’t say i’m a fan, but i’m certainly an admirer of the drive and delivery.
that really looks like David Mack’s work for the For Colored Girls poster. i might be wrong, but that just looks a lot like his watercolor work that he does for Kabuki, among many other title covers.
also, the I Can Do Bad All By Myself poster is totally from Straw Dogs.
A little late here, but that For Colored Girls poster also bears a slight resemblance to the Jules and Jim one (the one used for the Criterion Collection dvd). Anyway, really love the column, Adrian!
GO ON TYLLER,dont listen to these crappy comments.what have some of them done to show for?player haters busy smoking weed,getting caught for sniffing cocaine,picked up for robbery(bank or liquor store)lazy bums.leave tyller alone wacky comments wake up and get yourself busy dont be seated their criticising a man who works for his money shame y’all
Movie Poster by artist Marion Bolognesi
I just discovered, thanks to the Hollywood Reporter Key Art awards for which this in contention for Best Illustration (along with Akiko Stehrenberger’s Life During Wartime) that this illustration is by Marion Bolognesi who specializes in these beautiful drip-stained watercolors of women’s faces and eyes. You can see her work here.

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