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French Movie Posters - Names and Sizes

Picture of a French Grande Movie Poster in a Home

 

Here at Art of the Movies, we source Original Vintage Movie Posters from all over the World.

Previous blog posts in our 'Poster Names and Sizes' series have explained the terms used to describe U.S. and U.K. movie posters.

In this post, we focus on French movie poster formats.

Before we do, let's turn to the late 19th Century and dwell upon the importance of France to the development of the movie industry, particularly in its early years.

History

We owe the birth of cinema to August and Louis Lumière. In 1895 the brothers developed and patented a film projector, naming it the 'Cinématographe'.

A year later, in 1896, Pathé Frères, began using cameras produced by the Lumière brothers to develop their own film production techniques. Pathé grew to be an early powerhouse of the movies, years ahead of its American counterparts.

George Méliès' 1902 film “Le Voyage dans la Lune” (known in English as “A Trip to the Moon”) was the first science fiction film and catalyst for a copy cat industry in the United States.

As their International competitors caught up, the First World War struck Europe. The French movie industry was hit hard and lay in decline until the end of the Second World War.

Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, and in 2015 was the sixth largest producer of films, ahead of the U.K. (in seventh). Despite the barrier of language for many parts of the World, France is also a very significant exporter of films.

In the context of this blog post though, perhaps the most important contribution was to the birth of the movie poster, as you will see in next week's blog post, "The Artists - An Introduction".

French Movie Poster Formats

French movie posters are often very different to their English language counterparts. They include some of the most beautiful and high impact movie posters ever produced. We have a passion for the ‘Grande’ format, which can provide a real statement piece of art for the home.

In addition to the Grande, French movie posters come in a range of sizes, which we explain below.

Petite – 15.7 in x 23.6 in (40 cm x 60 cm)

As its name suggests, this is the smallest French movie poster format, used in portrait (so long side vertically). The format is used frequently, with most posters being folded across the middle.

Moyenne – 23.6 in x 31.5 in (60 cm x 80 cm)

Again, a frequently used portrait format and usually folded across the middle.

Pantalon / Door Panel – 23.6 in x 63 in (60 cm x 160 cm)

Also known as the ‘French Insert’, due to its similarity to the U.S. Insert, this long and narrow format is used in portrait. The Pantalon is great for narrower walls that are not obscured by furniture.

Half Grande – 31.5 in x 47.2 in (80 cm x 120 cm)

This landscape (long side horizontal) format was in use until the 1980s, but is now rarely seen.

Grande – 47.2 in x 62.9 in (120 cm x 160 cm)

The portrait Grande format is one of our favourites and is the most commonly used in French cinemas. It provides a fantastic size for the home, creating real impact when framed.

Double Grande – 62.9 in x 94.4 in (160 cm x 240 cm)

A now unused landscape format.

As we’ve included in our previous ‘Names and Sizes’ posts, here’s a useful table that summarises everything, giving sizes in both centimetres and inches.

A Table of French Movie Poster Names and Sizes (Grande, Petite etc.)

A final warning - always measure your poster...

Despite the definition of standards, movie posters do often vary in size. Please always re-measure your poster before ordering a frame. It may save the cost of an unwanted frame, and, protect your poster from being squeezed in to too small a space.

We would encourage you to take a really good look at French movie posters. Please do not be put off by the use of 'none English' movie titles. Often, the French poster is a far more appealing piece of art than it’s International counterpart. French movie posters can bring a really stylish and unusual piece of art to your home.

In future blog posts, we'll cover the most common poster sizes used by other countries. Coming shortly, Italian poster sizes.

If you are interesting in French posters, you can use the 'filter by' option in our Catalogue and then choose 'French'. This will filter your view to posters for films released in France, and, films produced there too. There are some super posters to see.

We hope you find something you love.

 

Adam and the 'Art of the Movies' team

 

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