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Rashomon / one sheet / 2009 re-release / USA

22.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Rashomon
AKA
Rashômon (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
1950
Director
Akira Kurosawa
Starring
Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki, Kichijirô Ueda, Noriko Honma, Daisuke Katô
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki, Kichijirô Ueda, Noriko Honma, Daisuke Katô,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2009
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Kent Williams
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa‘s 1950 masterpiece Rashomon is considered by many to be his crowning achievement, which is no mean feat when you consider it’s stacked against films as beloved as Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961). Considered incredibly influential and ground-breaking, particularly in terms of storytelling, cinematography and editing, the film has lost none of its impact in the 60+ years since its first release. The film is essentially an investigation into the truth behind a heinous crime in which a woman is raped and her samurai husband is slain at the end of a dagger, but it’s the way that Kurosawa stages the recollections of the four key eyewitnesses that makes Rashomon so special.

The film begins as three strangers shelter under the ruins of the eponymous gate during a calamitous thunderstorm. Two of the men, a woodcutter and a priest, were witnesses to events that happened in a nearby forrest three days earlier and they begin to recount what they saw to the commoner who’s eager to hear the details of the crime. Each of the recollections feature the husband and wife and a bandit named Tajômaru (Toshirô Mifune) but each of the witnesses recall the events that led to the death of the samurai in very different ways.

Kurosawa uses a number of editing techniques to differentiate the recollections for the viewer and apparently shot the same scene with several different cameras so he could cut to another angle of the same performances as he saw fit. Mifune, a frequent collaborator, deserves special mention for his memorable portrayal of the bandit Tajomaru in each of his different ‘guises’. In the end, the viewer is left to decide which of the witnesses they believe with the director resisting the urge to wrap things up neatly. As the commoner remarks when discussing the validity of one of the recollections: ‘We all want to forget something, so we tell stories. It’s easier that way.’

American artist Kent Williams painted this stunning portrait of Tajomaru that was commissioned by Janus Films for the 2009 cinema re-release of Rashomon. The release followed an extensive 2008 restoration undertaken by the Academy Archive, the National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and Kadokawa Pictures. Born in 1962, Williams has lent his considerable talents to a wide range of artistic channels, including printmaking, photography, architecture and film. He is perhaps best known for his work on graphic novels for the likes of Marvel and Vertigo and in 2006 he collaborated with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky on a comic book tie-in for the sci-fi fantasy film The Fountain. His official website contains galleries of his work, as well as a biography, links to blogs and more.

Kent’s 2009 blog post announcing the completion of this piece can be viewed here and confirms that the original artwork was realised with oil and encaustic on linen mounted on wood panel with a distressed wooden beam. This same image was used for the must-own 2012 Criterion re-release of Rashomon and the poster was available to purchase via their web shop for a number of months, which is where I picked it up from. It sadly appears to be no longer available for purchase.

Tabloid / one sheet / USA

07.08.15

Poster Poster
Title
Tabloid
AKA
--
Year of Film
2010
Director
Errol Morris
Starring
Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams, Jackson Shaw, Kent Gavin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams, Jackson Shaw, Kent Gavin,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 12/16"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
An Errol Morris love story

Tabloid is a 2010 documentary by celebrated filmmaker Errol Morris, who’s probably best known for 1988’s The Thin Blue Line, a documentary about a murder case with a wrongful conviction that is widely accepted to have been instrumental in the innocent person being freed about a year after the film’s release. Tabloid looks at the strange case of the one-time American beauty queen Joyce McKinney who traveled to the UK in the 1970s and kidnapped a Mormon missionary whom she had met and fallen and love with back in the US. Joyce was arrested by UK police and tried in court whilst the case became known as the ‘Mormon sex in chains case‘, after the missionary claimed he had been shackled and raped by Joyce who eventually fled the UK in disguise.

The film’s title references the fact that the case became a cause célèbre amongst the UK tabloid newspapers, with the Daily Express and Daily Mirror both vying for readers and battling for exclusives, especially once sordid details about Joyce’s previous life as a nude model and prostitute were revealed. The film is a fascinating watch but it doesn’t paint a flattering portrait of Joyce who is interviewed throughout, and she comes across as a delusional exhibitionist who is clearly trying to distance herself from her early life. Although initially happy to be associated with the film, and traveling around to various festivals with Morris, Joyce decided to sue the film’s makers in 2011 because she felt it portrayed her as “crazy, a sex offender, an S&M prostitute, and/or a rapist”. The case was thrown out by a judge in 2013 and there’s some mention of her taking it to another court in this article, though it’s unclear whether McKinney continues to pursue it to this day.

I’ve been unable to find out who designed this one sheet so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.