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Polish Movie Posters - A Brief History...

Prior to the virus, we spent quite a bit of time in Krakow, Poland. It is a beautiful and welcoming city, a destination that we would recommend.

Amongst the amazing architecture, music and art we learned a lot more about Polish posters and in particular, the distinct form that is the Polish Movie Poster...

Polish Movie Posters - A Brief History

It would be easy to conclude that the distinctive style of Polish movie posters was caused naturally by the separation of East and West during the Cold War. It was however the result of more deliberate minds.

Just a few months after the end of World War II, the communist government decreed that all Polish film-making and film distribution would be centralised under ‘Film Polski’.

Based in the central Polish city of Łódź under the directorship of Aleksander Ford, Film Polski began revitalising Poland’s film making, including the formation of the National Film School and the commissioning of a new series of film posters.

 

The National Film School Lodz Poland

The National Film School, Lodz Poland (formally Okar Kon's Palace)

 

These posters were to shy away from the ‘excesses and debauchery’ of Western advertising and to be built around a more pure, artistic sentiment.

As early as 1898 the first International Exhibition of the Poster had been held in Krakow. The country’s artists had embraced the medium, producing posters of a highly artistic form.

It was to this tradition that Film Polski turned, asking artists such as Eryk Lipinski and Henryk Tomaszewski to produce posters for the promotion of both Polish and International films distributed in the country.

 

A movie poster for Planet of the Apes by Eryk Lipinski A movie poster for Citizen Kane by Henryk Tomaszewski 
Planet of the Apes by Eryk Lipinski
Citizen Kane by Henryk Tomaszewski

When accountability for film distribution transferred to Warsaw and to the Centrala Wynajmu Filmow (CWF) (roughly translated as ‘Central Movie Rentals’) the practice of commissioning artists rather than graphic designers continued.

The Polish movie poster is more fine art that commercial art.

Whilst the proliferation of western culture has undoubtedly lead to fewer unique Polish film posters being produced, the artistic practice does continue and (much as we have the Alternative Movie Poster scene here in the UK and the US) a new generation of artists are producing fantastic alternative movie posters that hark back to the best Polish film posters of the second half of the twentieth century.

 

Polish movie poster for A Clockwork Orange by Leszek Żebrowski A Polish movie poster for Top Gun by Michal Sitek
A Clockwork Orange by Leszek Żebrowski
Top Gun by Michal Sitek

If you would like to know more about the history of Polish posters, we recommend this fantastic article.

Next week's blog post will be a Polish movie poster quiz - no cheating!

Until then, 'do widzenia'!

 

Adam and the Art of the Movie team.

 

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