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Movie Poster of the Week: Movie Trilogies

Graphic triads for films in a new series at New York’s Film Forum.
Adrian Curry
For auteurists in New York there can hardly be a better series playing right now than "Trilogies" at Film Forum: a four-week extravaganza of 78 films comprising 26 mini director retrospectives from Angelopoulos to Wenders and 24 other auteurs in between. Many of the groupings in the series are actual sequential trilogies, like Kobayashi’s The Human Condition or Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy, while others more loosely stretch the term, such as Lucrecia Martel’s "Salta Trilogy" or Hou Hsiao-hsien’s "Coming of Age Trilogy," very welcome though those are.
Very few of the trilogies in the series, however, have posters that were conceived as trios themselves, the French posters for Kieslowski’s Three Colors, above, and Albert Dubout’s cartoony designs for Marcel Pagnol’s Marseilles Trilogy being the major exceptions. There are two terrific matching posters by Jan Lenica for the first two films in Mark Donskoy's Maxim Gorky Trilogy, below, but he doesn't seem to have completed the set.
So I’ve tried to find posters that at least seem to imply some homogeneity to each series, mainly by choosing posters from one country for each triptych. There are bombastic Italian posters for John Ford’s "Cavalry Trilogy," quote-centric U.S. posters for the Apu Trilogy, Polish abstractions for Antonioni’s "Alienation Trilogy," and a lovely set of Japanese posters with circular motifs for Pasolini’s "Trilogy of Life." Click on each set to see them large.
Above: French 1950s re-release posters for Marcel Pagnol’s Marseilles Trilogy: Marius (1931), Fanny (1932) and César (1936). Art by Albert Dubout.
German posters for Mark Donskoy’s Maxim Gorky Trilogy: 1964 posters by Jan Lenica for The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (1938) and My Apprenticeship (1939), and a 1948 poster for My Universities (1940).
Above: French posters for Jacques Becker’s "Paris Youth Trilogy": Antoine and Antoinette (1947), Rendezvous in July (1949) and Edouard and Caroline (1951).
Above: Italian posters for John Ford’s "Cavalry Trilogy": Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949, art by Giorgio Olivetti) and Rio Grande (1950).
Above: US posters for Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy: Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and The World of Apu (1959).
Above: Czech posters for Andrzej Wajda’s "War Trilogy": A Generation (1955), Kanal (1957, art by Jaroslav Fišer) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958, art by Vladimír Tesař).
Above: Argentinian posters for Maskaki Kobayashi’s The Human Condition: No Greater Love (1959), Road to Eternity (1959) and A Soldier’s Prayer (1961).
Above: Polish posters for Michelangelo Antonioni’s "Alienation Trilogy": L’Avventura (1960, art by Jan Lenica), La Notte (1961, art by Andrzej Onegin-Dabrowski) and L’Eclisse (1962, art by Andrzej Onegin-Dabrowski).
Above: Japanese posters for Pier Paolo Pasolini’s "Trilogy of Life": The Decameron (1971), The Canterbury Tales (1972) and Arabian Nights (1974).
Above: German posters for Wim Wenders’ "Road Trilogy": Alice in the Cities (1974), Wrong Move (1975) and Kings of the Road (1976).
Above: US posters for Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s "BRD Trilogy": The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978), Lola (1981) and Veronika Voss (1983).
Above: French posters for Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy: Blue (1993), White (1994) and Red (1994).
In addition to what’s shown here, the Film Forum is also showing holy trinities from Ingmar Bergman, Francis Ford Coppola, Sergio Leone, Roberto Rossellini, Fritz Lang, Carol Reed, Theo Angelopolous, Aki Kaurismaki, Nicholas Winding Refn, Whit Stillman, and Jean Cocteau. Trilogies runs through May 16.


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