One of the most beautiful and confounding of modern masterpieces, Aleksei German’s Khrustalyov, My Car! is getting a 20th anniversary restoration release in both the U.K. and the U.S. on December 14 courtesy of Arrow Films. A potent source for Armando Ianucci’s The Death of Stalin, German’s fever dream of a satire has some the most gorgeous high-contrast black and white cinematography I’ve ever seen (watch the trailer here). It is fitting then that the new poster for the film, by the great Andrzej Klimowski, is in such stark black and white.
A new film poster by Klimowski is an event. Born in London to Polish parents in 1949, the designer emigrated to Poland in 1973 to study under the legendary Henryk Tomaszewski at the Academy of Fine Arts. By 1976 he was designing posters for the state-run Film Distribution Office and for the next few years he produced some of the most indelible Polish posters of the 70s, all in his very recognizable surreal photo-montage style. Returning to the U.K. when martial law was declared in 1981, Klimowski concentrated on book cover design (most notably for Milan Kundera and Harold Pinter) before becoming an author-illustrator himself, penning graphic novels in ink and brush and linocut, often in collaboration with his wife Danusia Schejbal.
His movie posters since 1981 have been few and far between: a series of posters for the films of Jim Jarmusch in 1991-2, a Polish poster for Institute Benjamenta—the first feature film by his longtime friends the Quay Brothers—in 1995, and a 2010 poster for Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. The Khrustalyov poster continues the striking and inventive use of linocut that has been his trademark for the past two decades: the perfect medium for rendering German’s dramatic chiaroscuro.
Below are some of my favorites of Klimowski’s posters. You can see many more in the book Klimowski Poster Book that was released earlier this year.
Many thanks to Daniel Bird and Louise Buckler of Arrow Films. Posters courtesy of Arrow Films and Posteritati. Khrustalyov, My Car! opens November 14 at the Metrograph in New York.