Before any discussion of the poster for Funny Games ensues, I must emphasize that the German turned American film, by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, is without a doubt a terrifying, horror movie. Funny Games is grotesque, actually, with very sinister undertones and a fair bit of gore. In designing a poster for this film, L.A. based creative Akiko Stehrenberger, made a definitive choice. Rather than funnel perception of the film toward a bloody and bone chilling horror mess, Stehrenberger focused the branding toward a clean and minimal approach, one that is rarely seen within the horror genre.
What do you get when you mix teenage starlets and pop sensations with America’s most enigmatic independent filmmaker? The answer is Spring Breakers, the neon-blazing, experiential, psychedelic pastiche that is Harmony Korine’s most commercially successful film yet. Comprised as a symphony of character, narrative, and social-political layers, Spring Breakers is a maze through an ultra-fun then frenzied trip for four freshmen that will stop at nothing to get to Daytona Beach in time for spring break.
We’ve all said those three powerful words when deciding which film to watch: “This looks (insert negative or positive adjective here).” Whatever adjective finishes that short sentence decides the fate of that film for you. In my most presumptuous of moods I will judge a film based on what typeface they used in the movie poster. As a cinephille, I can be condemned for such triviality, but I believe the rule of first impressions always apply.
Production companies that design the brand identity for a film have the responsibility of maintaining that first good impression. The movie poster, the driver of that identity, can also be an indication of failure if it subscribes to the common and conventional denominator of ‘thoughtless design’. Successful poster design moves beyond symbolism to choose an interpretive vision. When interpretation pushes curiosity to it’s limits, a simple promotional movie poster can be elevated to into the caliber of art.
On the other side of the county, in the capital Reykjavik, Icelanders that were affected by the financial crisis came to inspire Come to Harm by director/photographer Borkur Sigthorsson. Come to Harm is Iceland’s version of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs.
There are three identities that come to mind when I think of Iceland. One is of the vast and breathtaking landscape, which is so obscenely grand it is almost supernatural. The second is the capital of Reykjavík that carried the country’s dark financial gloom not so long ago. The last, slides far down the scale of grandiose into the quaint peaceful life of the villages that surround the country’s perimeter. This is where Nói albino takes place. Far away from civilization, green grass and warm sun. First released in 2003 by Director Dagur Kari, what Nói albino does, is the incredible job of merging the immense and humbling Icelandic landscape with the day to day life of inhabitants who reside in a small fishing village on the west side of the country.