Checking out Czech Film Poster Design

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo’s Film Center Gallery is currently showcasing the collection of the Prague film poster store, Terry Posters, and in particular a series of old posters created by Czech graphic designers. From Kurosawa to Godard, we’re going to take a trip down cinema’s memory lane in a distinctly Bohemian style.

Terry Posters can be found in Prague and sells both contemporary and vintage movie posters, designed by Czech, Polish and other artists. Its archive is also regularly the basis for exhibitions in the Czech Republic and elsewhere. After a series of thirty of Milan Grygar’s posters previously appeared at the Czech Center in Tokyo in 2009, now some of the best from the collection are at the National Film Center Gallery.

A Gentle Creature (Une femme douce) (1969)

czech film posters

Robert Bresson’s film is adapted from the Dostoevsky short story and was his first feature in color. This hypnotically surreal poster is designed by Olga Poláčková-Vyleťalová.

A Woman is a Woman (Une femme est une femme) (1961)

czech film posters

One of Jean-Luc Godard’s best-known films, it starred Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean-Claude Brialy. This Czech poster for the French film is by Josef Vyleťal.

Barbarella (1968)

czech film posters

Directed by Roger Vadim and with Jane Fonda in an iconic role, this science fiction sex comedy is a cult classic. The very fitting comic book-style poster is courtesy of Karel (Kája) Saudek.

The Death of the Beautiful Roebucks (1987)

czech film posters

Probably one of the least famous of the examples here, the Karel Kachyna film is also known as ‘Forbidden Dreams’ and is a typically Czech blend of humor, tragedy and eccentricity. The poster by Karel Teissig is brilliant, surely a homage to Magritte.

Throne of Blood (1957)

czech film posters

This acclaimed Japanese adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ surely needs no introduction for PingMag readers. The chilling final scene with director Akira Kurosawa’s favorite star Toshiro Mifune trying to escape a sea of arrows is one of the greatest in all cinema. The vibrant poster by Jan Kubíček has a real air of Japonisme about it, a sort of European take on Japanese colors.

Rashomon (1950)

czech film posters

Continuing the Kurosawa theme now, this is the film that launched postwar Japanese cinema on the world stage (though it didn’t get a Czech release until 1970). Again starring Toshiro Mifune, it is based on a short story by Akutagawa. This Bedřich Dlouhý poster is my favorite, so minimal but effective — a mouth, a gateway, and a drop of blood.

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)

czech film posters

Our final Japanese film and now we have the monster movie of monster movies, this is Ishiro Honda’s early contribution to the Godzilla franchise that was re-edited for international release. We love how František Kardaus’s poster seems to show Japan’s most famous beast seemingly pitching something at the viewer.

The Detour (1967)

czech film posters

Fans of Czech cinema may be familiar with Josef Mach’s comedy. The risque poster is by Zdeněk Ziegler.

The Knack …and How to Get It (1965)

czech film posters

A British film by Richard Lester, who directed two of The Beatles films, this comedy won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Milan Grygar’s poster just seems to shout Swinging London and the Sixties.

The Pink Panther (1964)

czech film posters

One more classic from that decade now, the Blake Edwards (misspelt “Edwars” on the poster!) film starring Peter Sellers and David Nivens kick-started a whole series of movies featuring Inspector Clouseau. It was released in 1966 in Czechoslovakia and this local poster is another design by Bedřich Dlouhý.

‘Czech Posters for Films from the Collection of Terry Posters’ Exhibition
National Film Center Gallery
Until December 1st

  • Czechposterman

    These are one of the most beautiful Czech film posters! I specially love The death of beautiful roebucks poster as it is also a great movie!
    You can see more of these treasures here: