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Movie Poster of the Week: Jacques Tati’s “Trafic”

A variety of international designs and new art for Tati’s final road trip as Monsieur Hulot.
I came across a wonderful new poster the other day by Portuguese illustrator André Letria for Jacques Tati’s 1971 comedy Trafic, which reminded me of how Tati, above all filmmakers (with the possible exceptions of Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson) continually lends himself to different graphic renditions. Many of them can be seen regularly on the excellent and prolific blog The Hulot Universe, which seems to be tapped into an inexhaustible supply of Tatiana. I’ve written about Tati art twice before: in a post about Pierre Etaix, and last year I wrote about David Merveille’s impeccable designs for the Criterion Collection’s Jacques Tati Blu-ray set. But I’ve always wanted to feature the various international posters for Traffic and Letria’s new art, which you can see at the end of the post, gives me that excuse.
The famous French poster, above, curiously unsigned for such a striking, idiosyncratic work, is one of the greatest of title-centric posters.I have a feeling that Tati himself may have had a strong hand in the design, because almost every other country, with the notable exception of Poland, featured Tati as Monsieur Hulot prominently on their posters. Trafic was Tati’s final film as Hulot, a character he tried his best to keep out of the foreground but whose popularity allowed him to keep making movies.
The poster design is also echoed in the film’s title card...
The 1973 Polish poster is by the great Jan Mlodozeniec. The title translates roughly as “Monsieur Hulot among cars.”
The equally poppy and colorful German poster which puts Hulot front and center is by the Czech artist Eva Feiglová. The tagline reads “Hulot in traffic chaos... and you will laugh til you cry.”
The title of the Argentinian poster (“Hulot Driving”) seems to nod to the French roadway title treatment.
I especially like the two Italian posters by Averardo Ciriello: a duo foglio and a smaller locandina. The Italian title translates as “Monsieur Hulot in the chaos of traffic.”
The unsigned Belgian poster is most in the spirit of Pierre Etaix’s original line drawings of Hulot.
The American poster re-purposes the French title treatment...
...which is also used on the Australian daybill.
And the 1974 Czech poster by the masterful Zdenek Ziegler is the one poster that omits cars altogether (or does it? I can’t quite see what is in Hulot’s monocle) and instead opts for multiple Hulot heads. The title translates as “Monsieur Hulot Goes to the Show,” a reference to the car show that Hulot is traveling to Amsterdam to attend.
Here is André Letria’s new design...
A recent self-commissioned poster by Antonio Stella...
And finally the 2014 Criterion Blu-ray cover by David Merveille...

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