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Movie Poster of the Week: “Le feu follet”

This suitably autumnal poster for Louis Malle’s Le feu follet (The Fire Within) was the creation of the brilliant German designer Hans Hillmann. Now 83 years old, Hillmann was a major film poster designer in the 60s and 70s and is one of Germany’s best known graphic artists. His film posters are abstract and witty in equal measure and he benefitted from working much of the time for a revival distributor where he could riff on already known quantities (in the same way the Criterion Collection’s designers are able to). Though the majority of his posters are illustrations, for Louis Malle’s suicidal odyssey he simply took a photograph of star Maurice Ronet, strewed it with dead leaves and re-photographed it. Conversely his poster for Rene Allio’s little known Pierre et Paul—a face constructed from a crowd of people seen from above—looks like a photograph but is, on closer inspection, an illustration.

Hillmann’s designs could fill volumes so I'll limit myself to some of my favorites for now (for Vivre sa vie, A Woman is a Woman, Storm Over Asia, Pickpocket and The Seven Samurai).

Why show these? They make you just despise every single poster you encounter day to day.
These are some amazing posters. Pickpocket and Seven Samurai are especially brilliant.
i’m not /quite/ sure if hillmann really is one of “germany’s best known graphic artists”, however, his work is really stunning. if you’re able to read german: there is a great (and very in-depth) interview with hillmann in issue 19 of german film magazine “revolver”, also featuring samples of his art.
NIce post with great pick of movie posters. Having three of these films in my personal collection makes this very poignant and relevant. The Fire Within art captures the substance of his very personal vacuum and sense of hopelessness. The Godard posters look like bookends, the Kurosawa Seven Samurai is brilliant, and Bresson Pickpocket – a one look tells all. Storm Over Asia being unfamiliar, is the curiosity piece among these I must look into now that I have seen these wonderful visual works.
Is an amazing discovery of this works, few designers know how to capture the soul of cinema like Hans. Formidable!

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