One of my favorite Polish poster designers, or indeed favorite poster designer from any country, is Jerzy Flisak (1930-2008). Incredibly prolific—I’ve seen maybe 200 Flisak movie posters and he made many more during his 30 year career—Flisak started out as a satirical cartoonist. A cheerful, simple, almost childlike style is evident in much of his work, which tends towards the bright, bold and colorful, often peopled with rosy cheeked buxom ladies. Much of that work is terrific and quite well known—like his posters for The Fireman’s Ball and Paper Moon—but what draws me to Flisak is his work that pulls in the opposite direction: towards the more serious, abstract and monochrome. Before Flisak was a cartoonist he had studied architecture and there is a very strong sense of structure, space and form in his work.
Out of an embarrassment of riches I’ve selected 21 of my favorite Flisak posters in this vein. I recommend clicking on the first one to see it large and scrolling through them that way before coming back here to see the titles.
Above: 1969 poster for Eto bylo v razvedke (Lew Mirski , USSR, 1968) and 1959 poster for Desire (Vojtech Jasny, Czechoslovakia, 1958).
Above: Posters for Walter Defends Sarajevo (Hajrudin Krvavac, Yugoslavia, 1972) and The Fifth Rider is Fear (Zbynek Brynych, Czechoslovakia, 1965).
Above: Posters for Rodnaja krow (Michail Jerszow, USSR, 1963) and Send Me No Flowers (Norman Jewison, USA, 1964).
Above: 1966 poster for The Peach Thief (Wylo Radew, Bulgaria, 1964) and a 1963 poster for Moderato Cantabile (Peter Brook, Italy, 1960).
Above: 1964 poster for The Boxer (Peter Solan, Czechoslovakia, 1963) and a 1971 poster for Sanchiro Sugata (Seiichirô Uchikawa, Japan, 1965).
Above: 1962 poster for The Hit Man (Damiano Damiani, Italy, 1960)—winner of the 1962 Art Directors Club of New York Award—and a 1967 poster for The Man with a Rifle (Sergei Yutkevich, USSR, 1939).
Above: Posters for Law Breakers (Marcel Carné, France, 1971) and Im pokoriajetsia niebo (Tatiana Lioznowa , USSR, 1963).
Above: 1961 poster for The Door Remains Open (Frantisek Cáp, Yugoslavia, 1959) and a 1959 poster for Roman Holiday (William Wyler, USA, 1953).
Above: 1977 poster for Train in the Snow (Mate Relja, Yugoslavia, 1976) and a 1962 poster for The Adventures of Krosh (Gienrich Oganisjan, USSR, 1961).
Above: 1967 poster for Allez France! (Robert Dhery, France, 1964) and a 1968 poster for Your Contemporary (Julij Rajzman, USSR, 1967).