Ok, so I have to admit my first reaction to a movie about movie posters was one of confusion. I mean, who would want to see something like this, no matter how good it was? As it turns out, not only is it a great movie but I can see many different groups of people interested in this film. Great history, great art and great talent discussing this topic from many different viewpoints made for some interesting conversations and of course, a celebration of an amazing art form.
Director Kevin Burke wastes no time jumping in and giving us some history on poster art, where it came from, what happened to it and where it’s going. It was amazing to walk through the history of this art form, watch all the amazing artists at the top of their game create some of the most iconic poster art that the movie world has ever seen. I will readily admit I was pretty damn ignorant of these wonderful talents but thanks to this movie, no more. Between the 60’s and 80’s it truly was a golden age of this incredible art form that sadly would soon disappear with new technology and a different way of looking at the whole advertising process.
The introduction of the “floating head” image on a poster to advertise a film was humorous but really spelled to the end to anything creative in terms of poster art. The film shows very effectively how studios now wanted the heads of the stars in said movie to figure prominently on the poster, letting the audience know who is in the film but having no real artistic value at all.
One of my favorite parts of the movie was the incredibly diverse talent they talked to, giving the viewing audience many different points of view on everything from the new technology, current advertising, screen prints and why or why not prints are numbered or very limited in quantity. There are many very interesting points of view and almost all of them make a valid point, giving the movie great credibility in terms of not only getting different opinions but making you really think about the things being said.
Another interesting topic that was addressed was the whole sub culture that has now popped up in terms of collecting these posters. There are organized events, not conventions as we are used to seeing them but more like a wonderful community that yes, does put out good money to collect rare posters and meet the artists but it is done in a much more low key and ‘let’s all have a group hug’ kind of way. There still seems to be an innocence here, a real sense of connection between the collectors themselves as well as the artists, something I hope is not destroyed by the all mighty buck.
As interesting as I found the movie there are sections that did drag and seemed repetitive, although in all fairness we are talking about movie posters here so there is bound to be some unavoidable repetition on the subject, in terms of description, history etc. What saved the movie from becoming exceedingly dull was there always seemed to be one amazing story during a certain stretch, something that just made you go wow, that made you forget that up until that point things had just begun to drag a bit.
In an age of plastic people and cookie cutter advertising, it was a wonderful breath of fresh air to go back to a simpler time and see how people used to view the newest movie releases, through the eyes of the incredible artists and the posters they created.
Four out of five stars
24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters makes it’s Toronto Premiere at The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival Friday November 25th at 7:00pm at the Cineplex Cinemas at Yonge and Dundas
- Wonderful information about a forgotten art form
- Amazing talent with great insights
- Great poster art community
- Parts of the movie are a bit dry and repetitive