Friday, 26 August 2011

My 5 Favourite Almodóvar Film Posters

I should be seeing La piel que habito / The Skin I Live In over the weekend, with a post to follow at the start of the next week. In the meantime, here are my five favourite posters for Almodóvar films.

Designer: Juan Gatti 
I’ve got the UK Quad poster version of this (i.e. landscape rather than portrait –with the picture on one side and the wording on the other) on my wall. Also look for the Japanese mini poster (chirashi) version, which has Cruz emerging from a bouquet of flowers. It’s a really bold poster and I like how it uses the colour that Almodóvar is most associated with (red) and integrates the pattern from one of Raimunda’s outfits (I think it was either Peter Bradshaw or Jonathan Romney who said that on the basis of this film, Cruz has to be one of the few women in the world who could wear anything that Primark could possibly throw at her). In my longer post about the film I suggest that Volver is kind of an old-fashioned ‘star vehicle’ for Penélope Cruz –it is to an extent built around her existing star image- and her centrality on the poster (and to my knowledge her image was the only one that appeared in promotional materials, although I could be wrong) supports that.

Designer: Juan Gatti
Another Gatti design, another poster that I have on my wall (although not full size). There are several different posters for Women on the Verge but this is my favourite –it captures several things about the film: its overall stylised nature (which starts in the opening credits (also designed by Gatti –the images on the poster are in the credit sequence)), the prominence of primary colours in the set design, and that although there is a central character (Pepa –Carmen Maura), there is more than one woman in the film who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Designer: Iván Zulueta
The poster contains several elements from the film. Most obviously the tiger that the nuns keep in the garden of the convent, but here the tiger is standing for the Mother Superior (played by Julieta Serrano). Note that Yolanda (Cristina Pascual), wearing the dress that she’s wearing when she arrives at the convent, is becoming ensnared in the tiger’s claws, an indication that she risks being devoured by the Mother Superior if she is not careful. But also note that the tiger’s claws are scratching the habit –the Mother Superior is damaging herself, and her behaviour is self-destructive. Apart from the nun’s habit, the poster also contains the symbol of this particular Order (the Convent of the Humiliated Redeemers) –but instead of a heart surrounded by flames, instead it is pierced by syringes, which partly refers to what the nuns believe their mission is (the rescue ‘fallen’ girls, drug addicts seemingly prominent among them), but is also a reference the Mother Superior’s own addictions.

Designer: Juan Gatti
I just like the Saul Bass-ness of this one. It doesn’t work as well in the UK version because they try to fit ‘Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!’ into the same space as ‘Átame!’.

Designer: Juan Gatti
I like the simplicity of this design, which again makes use of the colour red (the dominant colour within the film itself). The circle can be read in many ways –it puts the boy at the centre of a target (the priest pursues him), but it could also be a spotlight (pointing to the elements of ‘performance’ that surround Ignacio). The crossed arms also signal determination –something that can certainly be ascribed to Ignacio in his many different incarnations.


Michael Pattison said...

I think my favourite is actually The Skin I Live In; that superficial sheen that looks like a photo from a distance... but isn't close-up.

Rebecca said...

Yes, I first saw it in thumbnail format and wondered why they were just using a still as the poster. It's quite an unnerving poster when you see it close-up, or enlarged -it reminds me of some of Chuck Close's photorealist portraits. That superficial sheen obviously ties in to some of the themes in the film -not least the idea of creating a 'perfect', artificial skin, and that things aren't what they seem on the surface. I prefer the teaser poster -the anatomical drawing that we see on the wall of Ledgard's office.

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