Polish posters: Freedom on the Fence


Poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, designed by Bronislaw Zelek (1965).

Freedom on the Fence is a 40-minute documentary film by Andrea Marks about the history of the Polish poster which includes a look at the many unique cinema and theatre designs produced in the 1960s and ’70s. Marks spent ten years working on this short film, interviewing many of the artists responsible for designs such as the one above. While searching around for links I came across a brief interview with {feuilleton} favourite Franciszek Starowieyski who died in February.

As to the current state of the art form in Poland, Marks has this unsurprising but still dispiriting note:

The Polish government no longer finances most cultural events; theatres cannot afford to publish artistic posters, and the idea of a film as an excuse to make a poster has vanished. Ironically, although the climate of Communism was a good ground for creating posters, the freedom of a free market society has resulted in a more restrictive climate for the creation of powerful posters. The art form is forever changed. A few concerned collectors and publishers, such as Krzysztof Dydo and Edmund Lewandowski, are attempting to keep the art form alive by commissioning and publishing new works, but their efforts alone will not overcome the situation. It is hoped that an outside appreciation of pre-1980s poster design history in Poland will ultimately help to encourage the government and private interests to commission more posters from Polish artists.

Freedom on the Fence is due to be released on DVD later this year.

An interview with the director

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Robing of The Birds
Franciszek Starowieyski, 1930–2009
Czech film posters

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