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Movie Poster of the Week: The Films of Volker Schlöndorff

On the eve of the US release of his new film Diplomacy, a look back at the early posters for one of the pioneers of the New German Cinema.

Above: Polish poster for Young Törless (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1966). Design by Kazimierz Krolikowski (1921-1994).

Since Volker Schlöndorff’s newest film, Diplomacy, is opening in New York next week (full disclosure, I work for the distributor) I thought I’d take a look back at the posters for the 25 or more films he has made over he past half a century. Though I quickly discovered that from the late 80s onwards there is little of note (Palmetto, anyone?), I have found some gorgeous posters from the first twenty years of his career, when Schlöndorff was one of the most important directors of the New German Cinema. What is striking is the wide variety of looks given to some of his films, most particularly the international posters for his breakout success The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum which he co-directed with his then-wife Margarethe von Trotta (though shame on the French and Czech distributors for not crediting Von Trotta). Schlöndorff’s bracingly smart, morally complex, politically engaged dramas (more often than not adapted from literary texts) lent themselves to a plethora of interpretations: could the French and Polish designs be more different in their depiction of Katharina Blum’s victim status? 

Above: Czech poster for Young Törless (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1966). Design by Karel Teissig (1925-2000).

Above: French grande for A Degree of Murder (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1967). Art by Jean Mascii (1926-2003).

 

Above: US one-sheet for A Degree of Murder (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1967). Designer uncredited.

Above: German poster for A Degree of Murder (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1967). Design signed but indecipherable.

Above: Half of UK quad combo for Michael Kohlhaas aka Man on Horseback (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1969). Artwork signed but indecipherable.

Above: German poster for The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1971). Design by Hans Hillmann (1925-2014).

Above: 1974 Czech poster for A Free Woman (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1972). Design Petr Poš (b. 1944). 

Above: French poster for The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta, West Germany, 1975). Design by Louis Mitelberg aka Tim (1919-2002).

Above: 1977 Polish poster for The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta, West Germany, 1975). Design by Andrzej Krajewski (b. 1933). 

Above: US one sheet for The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta, West Germany, 1975). 

Above: 1978 Czech poster for The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta, West Germany, 1975). Design by Karel Laštovka.

Above: French poster for The Tin Drum (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1979). Art by Roland Topor.

Above: 2012 US re-release poster for The Tin Drum (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany, 1979). Art by David Plunkert.

Above: Czech poster for Swann in Love (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany/France, 1984). Art by Jan Weber.

Above: Polish poster for Swann in Love (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany/France, 1984). Art by Jan Mlodozeniec (1929-2000). 

Above: Czech poster for Death of a Salesman (Volker Schlöndorff, USA, 1985). Art by Jan Weber.

Above: German poster for A Gathering of Old Men (Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany/USA, 1987). 

Posters courtesy of Posteritati, Heritage Auctions, KinoArt.net and Terry Posters. For more about Diplomacy click here.

How curious. The 1978 Czech poster uses a still from Bergman’s Cries and whispers. Thank you for your always wonderful articles.

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