Many films rely upon the faces of their stars to attract audiences, or at the very least their physical presence. Indeed, the emphasis of their forms underscores the current trend towards multiple iterations of artwork, with most major releases eager to accentuate their high-profile casts. However, other efforts look at alternative ways to convey their concept to the watching masses. This month, we take a look at examples of both kinds, as seen in May’s poster debuts.
The leading players in Michael Haneke’s 2012 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or-winning Amour may be thrust to the fore in the film’s promotional artwork, however it is their age and appearance rather than their involvement that underpins this instance of the tactic. With the film relating the emotive exploits of the elderly couple after the impact of a stroke, the twin pictures present their images from each other’s perspective, in realistic and resonant posters imbued with an evocative sense of intimacy and honesty.
Conversely, the characters – and the actors that play them – are the only attraction in the three images for the final film in the Twilight saga, with the central trio of Bella (Kristen Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) receiving their own offerings. Placed in mirroring positions, sporting matching expressions, and adorned with identical taglines (the simple yet effective “forever”), it is left to the twinkles in their eyes (indicating their vampiric or human status, for those in the know) to convey any point of difference.
Boasting an impressive cast of established and up-and-coming talent immersed in a period western / crime context, it makes sense for the imagery for John Hillcoat’s highly-anticipated Lawless to focus on their likenesses. In no less than seven separate pictures, stars Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce and Mia Wasikowska are rendered in gritty black and white against large, bold, red lettering, in an attempt to provide a glimpse into their characters.
Another Australian-directed effort that made a splash at Cannes, Killing Them Softly takes the opposite approach in a monochromatic and minimalistic offering. Instead of depicting its similarly outstanding cast (including Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn), it accentuates two items certain to be symbols throughout the feature. Accordingly, aviator sunglasses (reflecting the American flag in a potentially telling statement on the film’s politics) and a loaded handgun are used to striking effect, in stylised images against a textured black background.
Following on from a first poster that captured its cast in an array of panels, the second piece for Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love lets their names – and the locale – do the talking. After a laundry list of actors (Allen himself, alongside Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page) monopolises the upper half of the page in text format, the lower section presents an Italian postmark emblazoned with a bright red kiss, with the combined effect of both underscoring the film’s romantic, travel-based content.
When a feature focuses on a family’s beloved pet, the animal in question often becomes the film’s visual emblem. That the pooch in Frankenweenie is a dearly departed dog brought back to life by a pre-teen Victor Frankenstein in training only expands the artwork options for Tim Burton’s latest feature. As such, the deliciously dark image accompanying the stop-motion remake of his 1984 short film delights in highlighting his presence. With crude stitches evident and a bolt protruding from his neck, the crafty canine envelops the scant, small traces of his human sidekicks.