This evening the 57th edition of the New York Film Festival comes in like a lion with the world premiere of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and, as I’ve been doing every year since 2010, I have tried to collect posters for all of the twenty-nine films in the main slate. Sadly, it’s a rather uninspiring bunch this year (the posters, not the films), many of them nothing more than an arresting still with the title slapped on, which isn’t unusual for festival posters, but there still seem to be fewer designs of note than usual this year. The most unique poster—to me, though it won’t be to everybody’s taste—is the simple sketch of a bird (a pheasant?) for Angela Shanelec’s I Was at Home, But..., but that poster premiered nine months ago for the film’s Berlin debut. Last year, I had said that the handful of illustrated posters were among my favorites, but this year I Was at Home, But... is the only illustrated poster in the entire group, unless you count the cartoon seagulls (more birds!) in the poster for by Varda by Agnès. Full disclosure: the distribution company I have been the design director of for the past two years, Kino Lorber, has five films in the main slate and while I did design a new poster for one of them (Synonyms); we have not yet produced our own posters for three of the others (Bacurau, Martin Eden and Young Ahmed) because it’s too early in the release process (as will be the case for a number of these future releases one hopes). In one other case—for Beanpole—we are using the festival poster for our release because it is just such a gorgeous and, yes, arresting, image.
The poster for Parasite was among the highlights of the Cannes competition posters back in May and I love the new French variation, above. Other mild highlights are the matching silhouettes for Marriage Story, the duochrome grid layout for The Money Changer, the hand-lettering covering the Chinese poster for Saturday Fiction, and the giant type for La Gomera, a.k.a. The Whistlers. And as lettering-on-an-arresting-image goes, the poster for Portrait of a Lady on Fire, adapted from the original festival poster, is beautifully done.
The only two films I haven’t been able to find posters for are Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow and Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela, but both films’ distributors, A24 and Grasshopper respectively, can usually be counted on for something special down the line. (Last year the only two films without posters at festival time were Olivier Assayas’s Non-Fiction and Louis Garrel’s A Faithful Man and six months later I ended up writing a column on the former and art directing the latter.)
Posters are presented in alphabetical order by English-language release title.